Combat in New Eden tends to happen over an objective. People fight for certain goals. Sometimes it’s over territory, often infrastructure, or just for the fight. But Eve is more than blowing each other into pieces. The logistic and industrial work that enables combat is vast and spread over many shoulders. Many play Eve who never fired a single shot at another capsuleer, but haul tons of assets to the front lines and keep the meat grinders going. Fleet Commanders decide on doctrines and a more or less organized wing of industrial and logistic players take care of providing the ships needed for the fighting force. This gameplay is most noticeable in big blocs, but smaller groups do this just the same. And it goes down to individual levels too. I have an Impel currently sitting in Thera where I have placed myself a bunch of Nano-PvP ships.
Industrial Delivery – Fueling War
For everyone not part of a dedicated player group, this kind of space job is not very accessible. Well, you could seed meta-fitted ships in popular areas where players blow up regularly. But most will try to source their replacement hull on a market, instead of public contracts. And then you are kind of competing with the prices of Jita and other trade hubs. So how about making something like that available on a smaller scale in Faction Warfare? Get a bit of a thrill by hauling your goods through lowsec. Simultaneously, give pirates a good reason to camp gates. Delivery point may be a station close to the front line, where the goods are needed.
Deliver [ITEM-TYPE] to [NPC-STATION] within [TIMER].
Sounds like an expanded distribution mission? Yes. I guess it kind of is. Of course, Loyalty Points (LP) and ISK would be the default reward, but maybe add stretch goals along the way. And then open it up to whole corporations enlisted in FW: The more people participate and help ship goods, the higher the reward. Add stretch goals and maybe let people compete with each other: Who adds the most to the resource pool, is getting the better reward.
A problem with current distribution agents is that they let you haul mission-specific items. They are bulky, but of no value to anyone not running said mission. That means the incentive of “wealth distribution” isn’t there for anyone who would like to catch such mission-runners.
On the Clock
Adding a timer ticking down on the mission could include a nice incentive to use the fast-warping Blockade Runners for the job. Maybe do it like the Mining Blitz sites: The faster you arrive at the location, the higher the reward.
How do you avoid someone filling up the order with a fleet of Jump Freighters? Well, just don’t make the mission depend on number of items, but on time. So that isn’t a thing. And also cyno-jam the system. If the point is to get people into space, then a cyno for a rather safe-ish instant delivery seems not like a good idea. Or just make the delivery point not even a place where players can dock at.
How players source the items is up to them. maybe build it, maybe ship it in from a market hub. Maybe it’s even worth to mine right there and build like a million rounds of Antimatter M for the war effort.
However, what items would need to be carefully decided. I don’t think creating market hiccups would be a good side-effect of this. Maybe prevent that by using the live date of volume traded for an item. But I’m no expert on that, maybe ask Oz about it.
Or to be safe, make it an item/commodity that is not used by players otherwise. Like Tobacco. The list of items would also need to be very large, so people can not stockpile one thing (some will of course still do it) and instantly deliver it once the mission becomes available.
And the locations need to be changing every time, and have at least one gate in between – so there is a chance to attack the haulers on the way and add the chance of creating pew pew.
Maybe even give the opposing faction the task to destroy haulers that have such goods on board? Hm… that sounds a bit exploitable. Maybe don’t tie those two together but…
Let NPC haulers, maybe freighters even, travel with an escort through space and task players of the opposing faction(s) to blow them up. Also, add them to d-scan to let people find them. What would such a big ship drop? It should be something worthwhile, something good to fight over. But at the same time, the faction owning the haulers would need to get a decent reward, making it worth ensuring the delivery. Otherwise, they would just always get blown up.
Speaking of finding things. How about a scouting mission?
This would be something for the average Covert-Ops pilot. Scan down someplace, and navigate through some potentially hazardous environments, like the minefield in the SCC key sites. Then hack or loot a specific can and deliver the intel to an agent of your faction.
Another form of this could be to Combat Scan some NPC ships. But add a little twist: If they notice your Combat Probes on d-scan for too long, they move to another safe spot. So you have to narrow down their location first via d-scan, before you launch these probes. Maybe let even that lead to triggering the Convoy Ambush mentioned above. Then there is a battle, and after battle, there needs to be clean up. I bet that would be a very popular activity among BRAVE pilots. :)
Janitors of the Universe – Helium Edition
Maybe huff gas that’s leaking from one of the convoys’ destroyed ships. The gas is blocking the rescue vessels of your faction from saving military troops. The easiest way to get rid of it? Huff the gas away, keep and sell it. A follow-up mission could be to repair the armor and hull of a damaged vessel or haul out civilians.
I know we already have some kind of these missions, but actually using the mechanics more and making them their own thing, not just part of the security mission system, seems like a worthwhile idea to me.
Speaking of ideas, how about a salvaging mission?
Janitors of the Universe – Metal Edition
The empires are supposed to be much mightier than capsules. They have gigantic manpower and fleets. Why do we so rarely see them out in space doing space things? Why not have salvaging missions where you get tasked with salvaging the remains of a big battle with big wrecks of capitals. Goal is to retrieve a certain black box, but the actual salvage you find along the way is yours to keep.
Maybe you have to dodge pirates or fight them off while on it. Have dangerous wrecks that may explode in your face if you come too close – so you can not just launch an MTU and salvage drones and go AFK doing the laundry. Give the Noctis a real playground where it can shine. Also don’t allow straight approaches, rather make it kind of tunnels between spots with salvageable material. If you go outside of those tunnels and pockets, you get damage like in the abyss. I have no idea if that is possible outside of an instanced arena, but maybe it is.
What do you think? Would you help your empire succeed by huffing gas, hunting haulers, or shipping antimatter?