|Gallente Administrative Outpost|
For those unaware, "dead zoning" a system is where you install an independent owning corporation of a station that has no blues on its friends list so no one outside of that corporation can dock there. And that corporation only has one member who is an alt of CFC leadership so not even spies in CFC or their allies can secretly liberate the assets.
The CFC chose to do this action because even though they have conquered the station in a fight from N3 coalition, they cannot do anything to the enemy's assets in that station. Those hangers, corporate and personal, are inviolate as they are in all stations and outposts across New Eden.
(DEFINITION: The term station and outpost are often used interchangeably when referring to outposts that are player-built in null sec space. In actual fact, stations are permanent structures placed in game by the developers as in high sec and low sec and some regions of null sec where they can be NPC owned or "Conquerable Stations". Outposts are player built, smaller with fewer facilities than stations, and are all "conquerable".)
Since outposts and stations are indestructible, I've watched null sec over the years become infested with player built outposts. And since the services offered in each one are limited compared to a station, and each faction outpost has a different role (Amarr outposts for production, Minmatar for refining, Caldari for research, and Gallente for offices), AND there can only be one outpost per system, so the spread of outposts is partially in response to the needs of your average alliance. The other part is that players want to make their mark on their territory and the bang-for-the-buck of an outpost is second to none, a defensive position from which to fight and organize.
Has it gotten out of control?
One of the big downsides to the proliferation of outposts in null sec is that there is less and less room in which to add an outpost. Its conceivable that the satisfaction of a group of players building their own outpost some years in the future will be denied the next generation of players because all of null sec is filled up already! Sure, that scenario may be far fetched, but its not out of the realm of possibility.
So I think its time to seriously consider adding mechanics for the destruction of outposts.
I realize this is not a trivial thing to propose and there are a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to achieve this gameplay, but I think the payoff in the long run is worth it so stay with me to the end of the post before you flame me.
Burn Them To The Ground
First off, give the players lots of notice, months of notice, that outposts will become destroyable. After all, I'm sure there are years of traps assets in some remote stations and players deserve plenty of time to see if they can liberate, sell, or otherwise make use of them. I'm not a monster, after all.
Then on the day the new mechanic goes live, the mechanics for conquering an outpost go away. Instead, you can shoot an outpost until either (a) you negotiate with the owner for transfer of the structure, probably including some time to evac their stuff, or (b) its structure hitpoints reaches zero at which point it explodes. All logged pilots currently in that station are ejected in their current ship, all non piloted ships and assets are destroyed or dropped in the new outpost wreck which can be looted as normal wrecks go (I'm thinking the drop rate should be closer to 10-25% rather than 50% reflecting the massive scale destruction an outpost goes through). Logged off pilots would log in to find themselves e-warping from a random point 1 million km off to the location where the outpost used to be. And yes, destroying an outpost would generate a killmail.
Let the destruction of null sec commence!
Build Them Up Again
On the upside of all this destruction, new outposts can be built. I think its time for CCP to relax some restrictions and allow multiple outposts to be built per system in null sec. I also think some of their facilities should be increased but that a discussion I'm not prepared for today.
However, one thing I am prepared to put forth is that once we have destructible outposts on the menu, we should look at allowing them to be built in wormholes. Now, before you get the rope to lynch me, hear me out. Right now in wormholes, corporations and alliances are colonizing them and living out of Player Owned Starbases, aka POSes. There is a lot of compelling gameplay coming out of wormholes surrounding POSes and a lot of the quality of life difficulties about living in wormholes comes from the limitations of POSes and their code base complexity for getting changes (which is something else I will talk about another day). If we have destructible Outposts then we can consider allowing them to be built in wormhole space by enterprising corporations, which would act as focal points for the entities that live there AND provide another gameplay option as outposts can be transferred from one entity to another, unlike a POS tower. I think this can increase gameplay options in wormhole space while also increasing quality of life for these pilots.
I also considered allowing them to be built in low sec but with the slew of NPC available stations I didn't feel like there was compelling new gameplay to be opened up by that change, although the idea sounds cool to me for purely personal reasons.
I can think of some objections to this plan right off the bat, so let's see if they can be addressed.
Someone out of the game a long time comes back, and finds all their stuff stored in an outpost gone. This is the biggest pickle and one that's hard to get around. There are some easy options like "HTFU" which could be applied if the advertising campaign of this change reaches far enough, but this might be addressed more simply by moving all inactive accounts' stuff and clones to the nearest NPC station (remember, stations are still indestructible), and perhaps we let people submit petitions for the same resolution if they have problems logging in prior to the change.
Null sec entities will simply base out of low sec or null sec NPC stations. To be fair, this is any alliance's backup plan already, so the concern is if this change will make them do more of that. For shallow null sec I can see that happening but in deeper null sec pilots will need to base closer to where they are flying and living out of a POS is no fun.
After a brief conflagration of destruction, most of null sec will become empty wastelands. I think this is hyperbole speaking. I think alliances will build outposts and maintain them as needed, but they might be less cavalier about storing all the alliances assets in them.
CCP never intended for wormhole space to be settled with things like outposts. I retort that while CCP never intended a lot of things, they still happened! And wormhole space is settled, living in POSes, as miserable as it is. Let's give them something else meaningful to build and lose out there.
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Alright, your turn.