Mooring Supercapitals

Today I’d like to take a break from my last two atypical posts that have ventured into the area of the Eve metagame and return to my usual practice of writing harmless little posts that you’d normally find in the Features and Ideas sections of the Eve Online Forums. I do have another metagame related post in mind and this month will prove to be an unusual month of mammoth blogging for me. However, today I’d like to talk about the subject of mooring. At the outset I’d like to say that I have not done any particular research on the subject. I have read the structures devblog, and like most of us I watched a few of the main fanfest streams where there was talk of structures. I have also read CCP Ytterbaum’s thread on mooring with all of its replies. I have not listened to the Soundcloud of the structures roundtable at fanfest, nor have I scoured the community for blogs, podcasts, and twitter comments on the topic of mooring. This means that I will be writing from a position of relative ignorance. This is intended. At this phase a lot of the issues around structures are conceptual only. While my posts about various ideas about balancing tend to be very specific and detailed, they are usually rooted in a fundamental concept that I am trying to advocate. While my post about the Nestor included many details about fleet hangers, covert cynos, cargo volumes, etc., the fundamental point of it was to make the Nestor a better base ship for exploration groups and a better nullsec explorer. In my post about supercarriers, I included myriad details about specific bonuses and skill usage, but the fundamental point was to make the supercarrier a ship that can inject an aspect of invulnerability into Eve’s tactical situation. This post will build on that concept, as mooring is fundamentally a dimension of invulnerability.

Now maybe there is a tendentious metagaming aspect of this post. I clearly do not approve of tiny alliances of super pilots ruling over Eve. At the outset I’ll say that my approach on mooring involves two angles. First, it is my hope that mooring actually increases the options for supercapitals to be used in tactical situations, and even increases their ability to be deployed with ease. Once supercapitals are appropriately repurposed, I would like to see them used. I am not excited about the idea of motivating alliances to train, build or buy, and own supercapitals only to keep them logged out 364 days per year. It is my hope that when supers are rebuilt into something other than I-win buttons, their actual use won’t ruin the game and mooring should increase their use in battle. The second aspect is something quite different, however. I believe that supercapitals should be flagships deployed in small numbers to support large fleets. I believe entire fleets of supercapitals go against the concept of the ships. On that note, however, fozziesov will involve 6 areas of space in each sov flip. Therefore fleets of dozens of subcaps supported by 4 or 5 supers in order to flip a system would involve 25 or 30 supers, and would give the supercapital powers something to be happy about. This holds even more true if a power wants to be able to flip multiple systems at once or in multiple areas. So the benefit of having 300 supercaps is still there. They still need repurposing not to break the game. Mooring can supplement this though by making supercaps extremely difficult to maintain. That’s the second aspect. Supers should be easy to deploy, easy to employ, but difficult just to have and keep in the dock. Now a point I want to make before delving into details is that mooring, or aspects of mooring, should be connected to sov. Something needs to be done about the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ crowd. Therefore sov will be discussed in these proposals.

Now I want to mention the logoffski mechanic. If this mechanic is not done away with, the first aspect of mooring, that is mooring for the employment and deployment of supercapitals, will still exist, but mooring as a limiter on the possession of supercapitals will disappear. Personally, I like using the mooring concept as a way to make storing and owning supers more difficult. Therefore, I recommend that a supercapital pilot that logs off while piloting remain in space. Phoebe had already crushed most of the objections to this very old proposal and I believe it needs to be revisited and implemented. Mooring, however, will change how supercapitals are stored and kept safe, so the effects of not being able to safe a super by logging off will be different than what exists currently. Also, supercapitals should be able to be given passwords and then pilots boarding them should be required to enter passwords. Therefore, supers can be shared among pilots and players, giving the community the incentive to train supercapital pilots without each player actually having to own a super. They can truly become alliance assets with trusted members piloting them. I have some more ideas about supers, such as allowing them to have an ‘owner’ even while undocked and unpiloted, allowing them to be traded with the trade mechanics, and other ‘little things’ that can change things about supers, I think for the better, but those should probably come in a later post. I just mentioned the issue of passwords here because this mooring idea is a more radical adjustment to using and owning supers than a lot of us have even begun to comprehend. Things I will say here will undoubtedly set people on fire with all the problems they will create. These problems can be adjusted and eliminated with various additional mechanics. Mooring is a radical overhaul and effectively a supercapital balance pass without directly touching the ships themselves.

So with the long preamble complete, let’s get into details, which will consist of series’ of bullet statements interrupted with commentary.

  • Mooring should initially apply for supercapitals only. Allowing capitals, or certain capitals (mining ops with moored Rorquals?), should continue to be considered and implemented after the initial structure launch and be a part of the transition phase or follow it.
  • Mooring should be tied to a structure. It should not be a structure fitting or a role bonus for certain structures.

Supercapital powers living in NPC stations should be able to moor: limiting mooring to player outposts will screw too much up. However, limiting mooring to stations/outposts limits tactical employment of supercapitals. Also, allowing mooring at any station whether a player outpost or NPC station will contribute to the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ mantra that I would like to do away with. Mooring should be better in sov space than NPC space or lowsec, a point I will address below. Allowing mooring on any structure or any structure fitted to be able to moor will be a huge headache and open tons of exploits for players, and all structures in the game will have to be designed with the consideration that they may be moored with supers. Perhaps mooring could be a role bonus for certain structures, but then supercapital tactics will be defined by the capabilities of structures that are originally intended to do things unrelated to supers. We are going back and forth between too open-ended and too restrictive. The best solution is to design a structure that is some kind of a super dock for supers and then it can be dialed and adjusted as needed as a part of the supercap meta, rather than having to jack around with all kinds of structures every time the players find a way to inject the structures into supercap usage. Following bullets will assume the existence of a dock structure that is the sole structure impacting the supercap metagame.

  • The dock structure should be relatively quick and easy to anchor and unanchor. I am thinking like a 10 minute anchor from a DST or larger. This of course can be contemplated and adjusted.
  • The dock structure should primarily be fitted for tank, EWAR, and weaponry. It should have a lot of hit points and be tough to fight. Other additional fittings could be related to making it harder to scan, not show up on overview or DSCAN, etc. The additional fittings should not be available at launch but should be added during or after transition, with these capabilities implemented in line with other structures intended to provide or degrade cloaking or scanning capability and whatnot.
  • The dock structure should anchor at a moon like a current starbase at a predetermined point. It should not be ‘generally anchorable’ like a deployable or a container. It should be contemplated whether or not there should be a limit of one per system per alliance or some other limitation similar to the current limitation on player outposts per system.
  • Generally, destroying a docking structure should be a hitpoint battle. There should be no reinforcement period or timer period associated with it. You get through armor, shield, and hull and it’s gone. Of course it can fit reppers and be remote repped. However:
  • If a docking structure is anchored by a corporation or alliance holding sov in a system, destroying a docking structure should be an entosis battle involving reinforcement and timers.

What this means is that lowsec and NPC null supercap powers will be able to moor supers, but they’ll have to fight for them constantly. Supercap battles will be able to be staged out of or into lowsec and NPC nullsec, but if you want to be a supercap power and hang on to your supers long term and with acceptable levels of defense and security, you’re going to need sov. Sorry Stain Russians, Solar Fleet, Pathetic Legion, and all you guys. You’re going to need sov. And not just one system for your 300 supers, as they’ll all be visible and attackable, but a network of systems in order to properly place and divide up your super force in a way that you can defend without offering the most juicy target in Eve. You can anchor a docking structure in any system (not highsec of course) for the purpose of moving supers through space and for staging for battle, but it will just be too difficult to comfortably keep your supers in a system where you don’t own sov. Once in sov, though, there is now ANOTHER entosis battle to fight in addition to the sov battle. Even more numbers and fleets will be needed to unseat a supercapital port system. I’m not saying this entosis fight should spawn additional nodes like a sov flip, however.

  • Docking structures should be able to fit Cynosural Field Generator Is.
  • Service fittings should include fuel bays to refuel the supers.
  • While a moored super generally cannot do anything, it should be able to cyno or warp into or out of its mooring area, effectively leaving and entering its docking station with impunity.

There are a couple of things I want to hit on with this. With the Crius changes and the skill point loss removal CCP talked about removing bad complexity and options that weren’t really options. The idea of a cyno ship staying in space for 10 minutes is a cool tactical idea, but 99% of the time you are just undocking an alt, lighting your cyno, cynoing through, getting popped, and buying another ship. There are a lot of retards that call shooting station cynos PvP. It’s not PvP, it’s not tactics, it’s not options. There’s no other way to do it. The current system contributes to alts online and is just an annoying situation we live with. Now if a griefer wants to tango with an armed and powerful docking station, so be it. That’s PvP. Second, most supercap kills are not actual tactical losses, but somebody moved a lone super from point A to point B. A smart super mover has to use downtime to move his super in an annoying process of jumping at downtime over the course of days. Other than that, you have to be Pathetic Legion and move a hundred supers at a time with a full support fleet. Using downtime to move a super is not lore compatible, but just a mechanics exploit. Phoebe has succeeded in preventing teleporting supers. Supers should die in tactical situations by enemies who have planned to kill them in their tactical element, whether moored or fighting on field. The current system would be like Japan bombing Pearl Harbor by monitoring the sleep patterns of the battleship commanders and killing the ships as they snuck individually to Midway. Taking out a super move op should be like bombing Pearl Harbor the way it was really done. Making supers moored and visible is already a serious nerf to supers. Adopting any portion of my ideas about making the mooring of supers tied to sov would be another serious nerf to supers. Repurposing of supers in the coming months, regardless of how cool they become or how powerful they will be, will be seen by many as a nerf (since the goal is to remove I-win buttons from Eve, the current I-win button owners will see anything less than an I-win button as a nerf). Therefore, let’s add a little buff and make the things easier to move.

So this post has already gotten long. There are many other things to think about (can they bridge while moored, for example), but I’ll leave things open ended, having satisfied myself with the introduction of the idea of a separate structure for mooring supers, tying mooring to sov, and giving some ideas about how that should look. I may write a follow on post about this same subject, but I am doing a lot of blogging this month and I am seeing I may need to write another post about Brave and metagaming. It is my hope that this post will fuel some creativity and comment. Thanks for reading.

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