Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Player Owned Mobile Structures - Thoughts and Musings

So last week I said I was delving into things like Incarna and expansions  and expectations and promised on Thursday to talk about the new Player Owned Platforms / Deployables coming in Rubicon. Then I got busy and I didn't have time to dedicate to the topic until today.

CCP's moniker for the new items are Mobile Structures:
Deploy Mobile Structures - Reduce your reliance on Empire facilities. Transport and deploy temporary, player-owned, mobile structures to support your industrial operations and wartime efforts.
Back in last winter I called them Player Owned Platforms but its CCP's property so whatever. ;-) There are four of them coming in Rubicon: a resupplying forward base, a POS moon material siphon, a grid wide tractor tower, and a mini cyno jammer. Some common details we have so far are that they won't require corporate permissions to anchor and own as they will belong to the players, they don't need to be anchored at a moon, they will have small setup times and will have reinforcement timers. I don't have more firm details but let's talk about each one in turn as a "thoughts and musings" post and when the details do get released I can refer back to this for context of what I wanted and hoped for.

The Space Yurt - The idea is that this player owned mobile structure (POMS for short from herein) would allow players to have a local base to refit ships and store extra ammo/modules/supplies at. This is not only useful in null sec where you are in hostile space and can't dock and the overhead of a POS is not needed, but also in any space where easy access to stations is not available like in faction warfare, wormholes, regions with few stations, areas where stations are camped heavily, etc.

This is a great idea in concept but requires the right implementation. For one thing, the packages structure can't be too big to transport. If it requires more than a Blockade Runner then it will be too difficult to get to the hostile systems to deploy the thing. On the other side of the coin, the deployed yurt can't be too small: if it only contains a handful of modules and a stack or two of ammo, there is no point besides refitting to set the darn thing up, in my opinion.

So if the size is right, if its not too expensive, and if its easy to deploy... these might be awesome.

The Mosquito - AKA The Siphon. The idea here is that you amble up to an enemy's moon mining POS and you set one of these down, anchor it, and it hacks the POS and begins to pull moon materials from the silos. Reportedly anyone can take from the siphon unit as it fills up with goo. Again the devil is in the details though: how fast does it work, does the enemy get a notification about it, what's its storage capacity, how big is it to move around, etc. Could be game changing, could be a boondoggle.

The Vacuum - AKA The Giant Tractor Tower. When this was first announced everyone thought "oh mission runners only" and carried on for the most part. But this modules, again depending on size and ease of setup, could be useful in a lot of places. Picture a big null sec or low sec fight involving a hundred ships or so; the value in those wrecks could be considerable but the effort to clean up can be intensive. Now you can drop one of these and pull the wrecks into one central processing area where you can loot and salvage under the watchful eyes of your security detail. Or if the tractor tower works with cans as well, a mining operation spread over a wide belt with jet cans being pulled into beside an Orca or industrial hauler.

The Cyno Hammer - AKA Fuck Supers. The idea is that, once deployed, this structure will emit a sphere that will be X km radius (I've heard 70 and 100 bantered about) in which no normal cyno can be lit. Covert Cynos will continue to work as normal. So in essence, this will prevent OMG RIGHT ON TOP OF US capital and super capital hot drops, but will not prevent Black Ops drops. Now since this is not grid wide or system wide, it won't prevent a hostile capital force from jumping in just beyond the sphere's limit and warping in on top of you (unless you have a number of warp bubbles too) and it won't interfere with a sub cap fleet coming and killing your jammer so I'm not sure the point of this structure yet. It will inconvenience capital drops but it won't surprise anyone if it needs an anchoring time and short warps will allow enemy fleets to circumvent it. This functionality would have been better done by a Heavy Interdictor type ship that projected the effect from a module like the Warp Interdiction Sphere Generator so that surprise attacks and blockades could be arranged.

Of the four, this one I think is the least useful and might need some looking at going forward.

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Going Forward

What most excites me about this new feature is the promise for the future. The framework for supporting these type of actual player owned (as opposed to corporation owned) structures that can deploy anywhere for a fraction of the price and hassle of POSes with various functions is a right step forward. When I proposed Player Owned Platforms back in January I ended the post with this:
These platforms would allow players to setup bases away from stations in potentially hostile territory without the massive overhead that even a small POS incurs. They would be far more accessible to newer players (and we know that perks your ears right up, eh CCP?) while giving new content to old players to try out.
I think these mobile structures of CCP's fit the bill perfectly... from what we know. Waiting on details, CCP...


  1. Anonymous8:33 pm

    One thing about Cyno Jammers that I'm not sure people appreciate. The fact that a hostile fleet has to jump into a cyno that's not at zero from your fleet means you can (theoretically) warp in dictors / hictors to bubble it up and set up a bombing run before they can warp down to your fleet. This could potentially strand shorter-range fleets too far from their targets, give a friendly fleet time to react, and set up comedy gold bombing runs for great justice.

  2. I can also see the cyno jammers being of use to null renters. Got AFK cloakies in system? Deploy a bunch of these as you rat and it might just give you the edge to run away from a hot drop instead of dying.