Anyone that has interacted with a POS right now has a long list of what is wrong with the current system. Rather than spending lots of time and effort patching the existing system, CCP should spend their time creating a new POS system that satisfies the following needs:
- Dockable. New POSes (lets call them nPOSes), should be dockable, so that all the work CCP does on the in-station UI is available to all, including ship spinning and Incarna.
- Scalable. nPOSes need to scale all the way from a single person to a large nullsec alliance.
- Secure. Any possiblity for theft should come from people trusting people they shouldn't, not from terrible UI or a lack of a workable permissions system.
- Vulnerable. nPOSes should have some targets that are vulnerable to small-medium gangs, as well as entirely vulnerable with some sort of reinforcement timer system.
- Useful. nPOSes should be able to fully replace NPC manufacturing and research, and be scalable enough to allow for complex industry in space of any security level.
CCP has put a lot of functionality into the UI and capabilities when players are docked, including reprocessing, repackaging, ship spinning, accessing personal and corporate storage, and assembling/reconfiguring Tech 3 ships, plus many more. There is also the (currently) limited content provided in Incarna, which probably would be expanded in the future. It also doesn't make sense for CCP to work on two seperate UIs, one for docking and one for nPOS hangar functionality.
In order to be able to scale from a single person to a 5,000 person alliance, nPOSes should follow some sort of modular system, allowing for in-place upgrades without the need to tear down the whole thing and start over. A modular system would allow players to choose to expand based on demand for services, including storage, manufacturing and research. A fully modular system does require a fair amount of art effort, but would also allow people to customize the look of their homes/factories/labs.
The current POS security model is terrible and makes multiple people place enitrely too much trust in too many people. EVE should not become a place that is safe from scammers, but plenty of scams happen in stations, and there is no reason for people to assume any more scamming risk because they live in nPOSes, especially if nPOSes eventually replace player built outposts.
New POSes are a perfect place to create small gang targets that would encourage people to defend their space or lose time or ISK to repair damages. In nullsec and w-space, destroying a nPOS should be the same as the current POS, where some of the contents drop on destruction and some are destroyed. In highsec and lowsec, Interbus could move some or all of the nPOS contents to a safe place (perhaps in lowsec some portion of the contents drop based on the security status of the system). nPOSes would probably still have the same reinforcement system that current POSes have, though something new could be done here, such as making some portion of the nPOS vulnerable after some time, or even have the nPOS slowly become vulnerable over time after some invulnerable period.
New POSes are also a great opportunity to phase out even more NPC involvement in EVE, especially on the industrial/research side. nPOSes should have better manufacturing, reprocessing and research than can be found in NPC stations, and NPC stations should signifigantly raise the prices for their services, so that players will be able to compete with them for manufacturing (and be better and cheaper than they will be).