Looks like an Expanded Probe Launcher requires a T2 cruiser or battlecruiser minimum due to the relatively enormous CPU needs. It would take quite a big chunk out of a T1 cruiser. I’m looking at this from a purely salvaging (non-player interaction) perspective. But I’m glad you brought up another perspective.
Your issue is that it would be used for PvP and circumvent established counterplay. What is the counterplay to covert recon ships that cannot be detected on DSCAN? They can move in close undetected with just DSCAN alone. Narrow down your location and then launch a tight combat probe formation, instantly lock down your location and be on top of you. This type of thing already exists. I was mining today and a Lachesis just showed up. I’m very attentive and normally see would-be attackers coming a mile away. Luckily this guy didn’t use combat probes within a window I didn’t hit DSCAN and never landed within scram range. Instead he simply warped to the belt I was in. But he came awfully close the second time he tried. I entered warp and he was only 16km away. Depending on his skills and scram modules he could have locked me at 15 to 18km. And I have no counter whatsoever if he was a better player or was the designated “warp disruptor” in a group keeping me from warping off with a 40-48km bonused Warp Disruptor range while an interceptor comes in to lock me up before I could get out of range. He could still hit me even with unbonused medium rails if I tried to MWD away. That’s just a danger we risk, particularly outside of high security space. It comes with the game. I never even knew such a ship existed until I looked it up afterwards. However, I’d like this to be a PvE module.
In the case of this probe it must stay in space for 1 minute. It couldn’t be deployed and retrieved quickly enough to be missed by an attentive player. There could also be penalties to having it equip like there is with the warp core stabilizers or prototype cloaking devices. Furthermore, after scanning down the location the probe could warp to and land on site once it determines the wreckage location and appear on the overview of anyone in the vicinity. So not only only will this thing be sitting for 1 minute in space, DSCANable the whole time, but it will show up at the wreck site ahead of the pilot who fired it. It could be automatically flashy/inherently criminal so that it stands out on the overview when it lands on grid. And easily destructible with low hit points and high signature radius without incurring suspect status or a negative security penalty on anyone who attacks it. Finally, only the ship with the launcher can jump to the probe. So in closing…
- It sits in space for 1 minute while it scans. Perfectly capable of being picked up on DSCAN.
- When the 1 minute is finished it warps to the wreck site.
- It’s flashy on anyone’s overview and has a huge signature radius.
- Only the ship that launched it can go to it. A ship debilitated by drawbacks of having the launcher active. Perhaps 10s delay until they can lock a target and a 10km targeting range cap.
- Finally, the person firing it is rendered stationary, like bastion (but cancelable?) without the tank bonuses. It’s prevents cloaking while the probe is active. So if the probe is in DSCAN range so is the ship that launched it as they can’t pull out of DSCAN range.
I think this is more than enough forewarning. You would see this coming a mile away. And because it can be easily destroyed it could even be stopped outright if players are still in the area. People won’t want to send it into an active site. We can also add an additional 20s delay before a warp lock can occur. We could even have it take aggro from NPCs like a new player entering a site tends to do. Just spitting ideas.