August 20, 2015

Super-Duper Defense or What to Do with Super Capitals?

Fixed fortifications have been a part of warfare since man stopped living in caves and started fabricating mud huts. Perhaps the first fortification was just a ditch, then maybe some sharp sticks were added to it. As warfare became more advanced, so did fortification technology. From walls around a city to castles to bunkers, man has continued to advance its stationary defense technology.

In EVE there's nothing that's directly comparable to real-life fixed fortifications. POSes, indices multipliers, that's about as close as it gets. It makes sense, honestly. Castles were the premier fixed fortification, perhaps of all time, but they too became outdated as weapon technology leaped ahead of defensive tech. Gunpowder and cannons meant that the war had to move to a battlefield rather than a castle siege. In EVE, there's no need for a castle archetype, but I do think that EVE may benefit from "fixed" fortifications of a kind.

There is a lot of talk about what to do with super capitals these days. The question of what to do with them is much harder than the question of if something should be done. I've talked to some people who think Fozzie's off-the-cuff comment about turning them into "bards" is a good direction, others who think they should be given more jump range, and others who think they should be deleted altogether. I don't agree with any of those ideas though.

I think super capitals should be EVE's fixed fortifications.

Here is my suggestion: remove super capital's ability to jump altogether. Instead of relying on an absolutely horrible game mechanic (that is hot dropping an invincible fleet on unsuspecting hostiles with no chance of advanced warning), make them enormously powerful within local defense. The caveat, of course, is that they must travel like most other ships: through a gate.

In this way, you can retain most of the super capital's superior statistics, but at the cost of incredibly slow movement and vulnerability during certain scenarios, mostly regarding traveling. Super capitals still can turn fights, but they don't appear from no where. Fleets can scout them and disengage, or try to hamstring the super capitals as they're relocating. 

And that, quite simple, is the entire idea. There is fine tuning, oh, to be sure. But the basic idea is simple and can be tweaked. I've been trying to think of the downsides, and to be honest I have come up with a few. For one, it doesn't really allow the attacker to counter a super capital defensive fleet. That would have to be addressed in some way. Secondly, it may encourage defensive actions rather than offensive, which is (in my opinion) a superior game design.

With that said, I still feel like the idea has legs and I'd love to hear more thoughts on the matter. I know there would be an absolute outcry of rage if CCP were to announce something like this, but if the idea does turn out to stand up to criticism, I'd much rather weather the tidal wave of tears than continue lamenting bad game mechanics.