Let me clarify these are a varity of possible options centered around the idea of providing more PVE and not replacing the need for security or taking sov or defending it. Nor am I saying they should all be implemented or exactly as presented.
This would only apply to alliance’s that hold sov and are part of faction warfare. Which would encourage groups who are in their opposing faction to visit their space to make isk and look for fights and allow the defending alliance to partake in said fights instead of traveling all over null looking for them… but what about when someone creates two alliances and and parks them side by side in systems that are next door and they don’t attack each other but just farm the sites… so what if the pay is on par with other forms of pve then they’d make as much as anywhere else doing anything else. They could put a cap on the distance from empire space where this takes effect so an alliance way off in deep null wouldn’t get any support but those systems closer to empire would which adds value to those systems at least for those interested in that activity. Also neutrals wouldn’t be aggressed at all and wouldn’t gain any lp or bounties from them. You could have navy anomalies spawn in the system as well and not necessarily put the rats on the gates. They could also be dynamic and only spawn on gates after someone of an opposing faction sits on them for more than 10 mins and then warp out if the person leaves.
You wouldn’t be hiring the pirate faction that already exists in your space. Also they wouldn’t need to be anything op they could use the better ai but still be just as weak as your usual npc. All it would do is encourage anyone in something really small to either outrun them or keep moving around looking for targets also a warp out mechinic could be employed to have the npc’s leave if friendly players show up to fight the intruder. Also as above they could spawn in after a timer of 5 mins if the intruder sits on the gate and warp off when they leave. Again nothing overly oppressive but something to do while roaming around looking for fights.
The rats that aggress the structures should be weak enough to be repelled fairly easily with say a 3-5 man group or a solid battleship and take a day or more to grind down structures. They could also add a mechanic where the npc fleet warps off if any of the forces who hired them arrive and inserts a message in local saying we see you have this from here. Also they could be utterly destroyed by the defending alliance by destroying the forward base ending the siege completely. The idea behind them being that they act as a probe to see which systems are actually in use and which aren’t. Which is info that could be really useful to alliances looking to get into null and would encourage larger alliances to consolidate more in the areas they actually use rather than simply taking everything and letting it just sit empty. Once again they could be thwarted and/or easily repelled by anyone who notices them. Which should be an easy task for larger alliances who do actually hold entire regions and would give them more content other than just grinding anoms all day.
Again the rats are not super powerful and would only work in high sec provided you’ve met certain requirements. They should function more in a support role rather than a total defense.
The over all idea here is to create a blend of pve and pvp to help blur the lines a bit. I’m not saying it should be op and something you could use as a weapon to flat out win with regards to taking or defending sov but something that provides more content rather than simply grinding the same anomalies all day every day or the other existing content. It could be nice having a fleet where the goal wasn’t just purely to get kills but to also farm the territory your headed into with the goal being to make some isk along the way to make up for the monotony of scouring null only to find no targets then turning around for home. So long as the pay was kept in check or in line with other forms of pve then there should be no issue.
It could also introduce diplomacy with npc’s as a feature to alliance game play. aka if two opposing groups want to hire the same pirate faction to hang around their space and harass people then they have to outbid each other and more stuff along those lines. The goal is to interact with npc’s in a more meaningful way rather than as they are now seen simply as a wallet tick. Think of diplomacy you’d see in a 4x strategy game and go from there.
We have tools to fight each other take territory attack and defend. We need tools to interact with npc’s and the pve content that is more dynamic and driven by the players goals and objectives to use them in a meaningful way. This would only add more life to the game world and help to remove the sense of emptiness that many complain about when they end up leaving the game.
If you wanted to go balls to the walls then imagine this… Start from a clean state again not saying it should reset just use your God Damn imaginations for once.
Empire and pirate factions are limited to their own sov space and where their currently located. Each has a sphere of influence that extends into null sec and is more limited the further they reach out. Empire factions influence ends one region beyond their border. Pirates reach out until they hit their rival factions space.
Null alliances have a couple options.
They can join either the nearest empire/pirate faction or join their rival. In this case installation anomalies spawn within the home alliance’s systems that can be attacked by those that join their rivals to earn isk and lp. Neutrals are paid nothing.
Additionally the home alliance gets access to mission agents from their friendly empire/pirate faction which come in lvls 1-5 based on the systems they control and their distance from the empire/pirate faction’s boarder. aka if an alliance controls a null system along the boarder of empire or pirate space then their agents throughout their alliance’s empire earn more isk. If they control a system within the region but farthest away from the boarder they still have lvl 1-5 offers but they pay less. These agents give missions within the alliance’s territory for their members to run and earn isk. This prevents there from being a huge number of anoms being listed on the scanner.
All installation sites have escalating difficulty so they can be ran solo up to groups in frigates all the way up to capitals. The agent missions pay less than installation sites located in enemy territory so if you want to earn more you have to go to enemy territory.
This works for both pirate and empire factions should the alliance decide to take a side. If a large number of installation sites are destroyed within the home alliance’s territory by an enemy alliance belonging to their rival then the home alliance suffers a reduction in bounty and lp’s gained from their agents but get they get increased bounties and lp for destroying enemy players. aka you get 10% less from agents but 10% more from player kills. Over time as the number of installation sites being destroyed is reduced they go back to their standard numbers.
If the alliance decides to join nobody and not take a side then installation sites from the nearest pirate faction appear in their space and they destroy them in the same manner that players run anoms today. Have teh installation sites be fairly weaker in pay and difficulty but over time if enough installation sites are destroyed then forward base sites are employed by the pirate faction to increase difficulty and rewards. Scale the over all difficulty from frigates and solo play up to capital and fleet sites. Over time as the alliance’s standings with the pirate faction drops they begin to get incursions from the pirate faction into their space that pay even more and are the most difficult but still scale in difficulty to allow for solo up to fleet play.
If an alliance decides they want to take sides with the group they’ve been destroying then they pay a restitution cost to the faction and then can join the group they’ve been farming or simply join their rivals and continue to kill them.
As mentioned before the best sites and agent access would be available to those who owned null systems nearest the boarders of either empire space or pirate faction space. This should be good reason to go to war to have access to the territory closest to the boarders. To ensure their value in order to receive the benefits of extra isk and lp the value of the boarder system would be weighed against any other systems the alliance held. aka holding just one boarder system while owning a bunch on the fringe of the region would not get you the full rewards.
To help people who might want to get to pirate faction space but who want to avoid the likely blockade caused by those along its boarder add a star gate like the ones sov holders use only instead of them being permanent structures once deployed they create a beacon visible to anyone in system to warp to and jump through with the destination being a random system within the pirate faction’s space but within 2 jumps of a npc station.
This would allow groups from anywhere to reach the pirates home space and make holding the boarder areas more difficult for anyone unprepared to defend their space. Also it would be a one way trip since there would be no return gate. aka it opens a wh drops you off and the wh closes immediately and doesn’t allow supers.
Once activated an incursion event occurs in the system where the gate is deployed which lasts 12 hrs. The lore is that the beacon is picked up by the pirate faction and they jump a mobile forward base to the gate. During this time sites spawn within the system that range in difficulty from solo to fleet play and players can destroy the gate and forward base to end the event. If after 12 hrs players haven’t destroyed the gate and if it’s in high sec a concord fleet arrives and destroys the gate. if it is in low sec then an empire fleet arrives to destroy it and if in null sec then a pirate fleet jumps through the forward base is recalled and the fleet destroys the gate and warps off.
For alliances outside of the nearest pirate/empire’s region they have a few options as well.
They can still join the closest pirate/empire faction or its rival but need to deploy a infrastructure hub to do so which only provides the standard pay and lp’s from agents with no bonus.
If the alliance decides to not join either faction then pirate sites spawn as per the rules above as well but they also get more drone sites the farther they are away from pirate space.
Drones would function as a hostile end game neutral party that no one could join. Within the drone lands nearest empire/pirate space you could still join an empire or pirate faction that bordered drone space. However in the farthest regions away from empire and pirate space from time to time hives would appear that would function essentially as incursions that would be the most difficult to counter, destroy and could potentially destroy infrastructure and neutralize sov if not destroyed or countered. They would also pay the most and require fleets to counter and generally not allow for solo play. The region would be the most difficult to reside in but also the most profitable.
In areas of space located outside of the drone regions alliances could build one way gates that would connect to the drone regions which would spawn a drone minor hive on the gate side. Drone sites would spawn in the system and all installation sites would be despawned. The drone sites would run along the same difficulty of the installation sites found in pirate/empire aligned alliances only no lp’s would be rewarded and only bounties. Players could use the gates to jump to the drone lands and arrive in a random system within 5 jumps of an active hive incursion. They would allow supers but have a total mass limit to limit the number of supers jumping within a 48hr period. After 48 hrs a drone fleet arrives to destroy the gate but can be destroyed by the players who built it to keep it up and open. If not destroyed the drones will destroy the gate and warp off leaving the minor hive which would send small easily countered fleets to attack infrastructure and drone sites would continue to spawn in the system until the minor hive is destroyed. This would give the home alliance the option of farming drone sites but having to keep an eye on their stuff while being able to end it any time by destroying the hive. Gates to drone lands are banned in empire space and in the space of the alliance’s allied with empires. Alliances who own space on the boarders of pirate space and get the higher bonus’s who chose to deploy a gate to drone lands risk the spawn of a Drone hive rather than a minor one which will attempt to take space up to 5 jumps from the system its been deployed in and must be dealt with quickly or serious risk to stations and sov are high. aka it creates an everyone on deck and lets bring friends too situation. If the defenders are unsuccessful then the Hive remains and minor hives spawn in the systems its taken. The only way to remove them is to destroy the primary hive and gate leading to drone space. After that the minors can be removed as well. Only an executor can deploy drone gates.
Lastly keep in mind all this is if they completely ripped the guts out of the way things currently work but it would lead to a more dynamic system than what we currently see in game. This kind of thing is what we should want to see coming from the future updates surrounding PVE content and EVE in general. A more dynamic and challenging experience that gives alliance’s and players choice that feels meaningful. There also needs to be an endgame of some kind that makes enemies look at each other and think maybe we should work together on this before going back to killing each other otherwise we both may end up in ruins.