Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Vision for POSes

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).


  1. Aye. The current system is badly in need of a revamp. Rather like the idea of making them all dockable as well.

  2. The upgradeable is important.

    It's annoying as hell having to unanchor everything just to replace the tower with a larger model.

    Hmm. Time to write out my own blog post =D

  3. I wonder if you watched fanfest where...I think it was soundwave talked about doing just this....Said that they where working on a whole new pos system and when it was ready the old system would be removed and the new system would be put in its place.

    I think it was in the keynote that he said something like "A pos should be everything from a simple captians quarters all the way up to a giant flying deathstar with so many guns you can't see the structure" Then went on to make many of the same points that you have here...

    Barring that I will say that your points are spot on and I approve of this message.

    1. It was CCP Greyscale that said that, and yeah, I was there to hear him say it.

    2. CCP TorfiFrans added to this in a later keynote.

  4. Someway to add extra power, and keep adding power/cpu until you hit a critical juncture where you have to be in sov space to install an upgrade that takes your station and upgrades it to a big 20km thing in space. If a group has enough Isk there shouldn't be a reason that they shouldn't be able to have a research/production POS and have it well defended, currently that's very hard with large POS limits. Would be nice to have a fully operational death star.

    I would also suggest a reversal of the nomenclature so that a small single person/small corp thing in space was an Outpost --> Station(Shows up in Overview) --> Headquarters(Shows up on star map).

    Maybe a solar power add-on for small Outposts to help small folks get started without the logistical grind that is POS maintenance. All those wingy-bits on Minmatar stuff have to be usefull for something besides heatsinks. :)

  5. Would you have any difference between nPOSes and outposts then? I rather like the idea of making them all the same thing, but I admit I don't do much with them now. It'd also be a pretty big change to established infrastructure, so I'm not sure how well it'd go over with established power blocs.

    How would you handle supercaps, too? Would you still have a shield they could hide in?

    1. I would prefer to replace outposts with nPOSes, though that might not make the first release. I would prefer that nPOSes get rolled out and the bugs ironed out before you force more people to live in them.

      Supercaps I am not sure about yet. My inclination would be to allow limited supercarrier docking, and not allow Titans to dock, though maybe a module that is expensive to maintain and allows docking would be a good idea.

    2. Maybe there can be a second "state" besides "being docked". In a way that the ship does not disappear from space, remain vulnerable to some degree, yet -- by being connected to the nPOS -- receive some bonus.
      (But I am really ignorant of the side-effects people face with Titans today)

  6. Just threw together some of my thoughts :)

  7. Other ways to make POSes more useful: the ability to host markets. Then start restricting the number of orders per pilot in NPC stations, and start restricting the volume of shipping and cargo that can be stored in NPC stations.

    Logistics is too easy.

    1. +1 this with the caveat that you can then choose not to sell to people with negative standing. I realize that doesn't get around neutral market alts, but it would feel good for a whole 10 seconds :)

    2. Yeah, I meant to include that in my post. Markets and contracts are super important.

    3. This would be brilliant change to the dynamic of wormhole space.

    4. Some kind of in-POS vending machine would be cool, though I don't know how much use I personally would get out of it.

  8. >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).
    Terrible Idea. The POS production already has smaller manufacturing time. What we dont want - raising a bar for the new industrialists to get into production. Even now to get some large operation running you need to either set up production/research poses or deal with station slot queues or long haul times.

    1. Ideally you would be able to build at people's nPOSes in highsec, so players would be able to compete on price and services. The current barrier to entry for something like invention is already very high, like you said, you have to have a highsec lab POS. I think my solution would make things better, not worse.

    2. You could bring in the real-world fact that huge, highly automated factories tend not to do small batch jobs well, or efficiently. Where are the huge factories? In safe, settled hi sec. If you want to make 10,000 T1 frigates in one go, hi sec (or at least, empire space) should be unbeatable. If you want to assemble 5 Legions, an nPOS is where you want to be.

      That way there's still a reason to do NPC production and a reason to do POS production. The bigger the POS, of course, the more large-scale production it could do, and the more efficiently it could do it.

      Left to my own devices, I could completely geek out on raw materials and manufacturing. The system could be so much richer than it is now, instead of being a simple system with an obtuse interface.

    3. There is nothing wrong with significantly raising the fees for NPC station production. Just combine it with a considerable standings reduction, so it is still competitive when you've got good standings.

      This will make it easier, not harder for serious (newbie) industrialists, because it will take out a LOT of the competition by players who do casual industry on the side.

  9. It would be awesome if PoS's had a lobby instead of a captians quarters so I could brofist with my wormhole buddies!

    1. This man has the vision though im not sure it will come so soon.

  10. Hm, how do I put this. I like the mechanics that you talk about with regard to "dockable," but I don't want it to actually be "docking" as it works with stations/outposts now, for two reasons.

    1. Visibility. One of the things that sets POSes apart, especially in W-space, is that people inside of them are visible on D-scan/in space. You know who's there, and you know what they're in. You don't know what they can hop into from the SMA or how many friends they have logged off/hidden elsewhere in system, but it's not completely opaque like a station. In w-space this is particularly important because it is often the only indication that anyone is online in a given system if they're not actively out and about. At the very least there would need to be some visible indicator of active pilots in an nPOS.
    Visibility also means you have some level of situational awareness from inside the POS, which you completely lack when docked. The two sides of this sort of cancel each other out, balance-wise, but they do so in the most boring possible way. You can't see the invader to go attack him, and they can't see you to know there's something to do in your system.

    2. Docking games. For the love of all that is holy, do not bring docking games to W-space. Force-field games are counterable. You don't have the silly docking radius concept, inside which you can do whatever the hell you want as long as you can survive 60 seconds. You have a strict boundary, one side of which is safe but you can't do shit, and the other side of which is dangerous but allows you to fight.

    In general, there are a few aspects of current POS mechanics that should be considered in any re-design. Defensibility is one of them, and I don't just mean slapping some guns on outposts. POS gunning is an incredibly powerful (though underused and burdened with atrocious UI issues) tool, and I'm not sure how it would work with something dockable. Customizable defenses are also important. What will keep you safe in nullsec makes you look dumb in W-space, and even between different classes of wormholes different types of defenses are more or less effective.

    In short, POS modules that do all of the things you describe would be a very good thing, as would a redesigned hanger system and permissions and all that jazz. I'm not sure I want a miniature outpost, and I'm not sure I want to do away with the concept of a force field (and all of the strengths and vulnerabilities thereof) in order to achieve that.

  11. *big ol' w-space perspective*

    I like the "being in space" aspect of POSes a lot. As such, I too am averse to replacing SMAs with docking entirely. A SMA-like module that one can approach and access both a personal hangar and a shared hangar in the style of corp offices would be excellent, but it should never take your active ship out of space. I don't want POSes to turn into outposts. Leave outposts and their docking in nullsec.

    Likewise, I would be down with establishment modules for the lulz, but I care more about POS improvements than I do waiting on Team Avatar to roll out establishments, so I don't want that to be a bottleneck for any of this. Some people genuinely do not want any avatar-based gameplay in their EVE and like POSes because it lets them avoid that, so making people wait on POS improvements so I can transfer the hookers out of my cargo hold and into their own luxurious pleasure palace will cause complaining.

    I don't want to lose the functionality of grabbing ships/modules out of SMAs/CHAs in an effort to make things more station-like. Yes, this is where security gets tricky, but this is where an improved method of granting roles and accesses will do more for POS-living quality of life than revamping the entire method of ship and module accessing will. If we all convert over to having personal hangars and the only shared space is an in-POS corp office with no changes to the way security is handled, it's not going to improve things much.

    Phasing out NPC-run markets in favor of player-run markets is interesting. Anything relying on the goodwill of players is dangerous, and anything that turns an ISK sink into cycling the ISK back into the economy (I assume the POS owner would be compensated by receiving the taxes instead of taxes going to some NPC thing or other) is also finicky work. That said, I really like the concept. I think the first step in that direction should be internal vending machines for POSes -- if I want to buy something off of my corp, I have to hunt down the right wallet division, figure out what it cost the corp in the first place, transfer the ISK, and then take it.

    I like where this is going for the most part, but turning POSes into station replacements is not what I want to see.

  12. Instead of Docking, which makes you dissappear from d-scan and allows dockup tricks. I'd rather see something like "Connecting", it gives you the similar UI tab with all the station functions as when docked, but while still flying your ship. That way you do streamline the UI for stations and nPOS into one, but differentiate in safety/visibility.

  13. From the design/engineering standpoint, I think that making lists like "useful, vulnerable, dockable" is not the place to start. First you define the user experience, then you define the user requirements (which is similar to what Two Step outlined above), then derive the engineering requirements from that when you code the thing.

    So roleplay the user. You are part of a small gang of mixed corps in the same alliance who are out hunting, but need to dock to restock ammo. You warp the the POS, and in mid-warp, you open the remote management screen to make sure your POS will allow your gang to dock up. Well, the person who set up the POS only did so for moon mining - only your logistics division has docking rights. You are an FC, and so you have the ability to change who can safe up in the POS, but you can't do anything else. You reconfigure the POS just as the group lands, and you all safe up.

    There, now what can we pull from this? User requirements:

    1. User groups and rights: your role in the corp defines what you can change in the POS
    2. Remote management
    3. A UI that is easy enough to manage that docking rights can be changed in the time it takes to warp across a medium sized system.

    An engineer/coder can go from there. Now describe the full user experience from others - moon miners, builders, someone trying to blow the thing up, and I bet you will get a list similar to Two Steps. But it will be done in such a way that forces the coders to make a more useful POS, one that is designed around the user, not around features.

    It's the Apple way, and frankly, the best way for this.

    1. There, now what can we pull from this? User requirements:
      1. Safety - a POS is a place to run to
      2. User groups and rights: your role in the corp defines what you can change in the POS
      3. Remote management
      4. A UI that is easy enough to manage that docking rights can be changed in the time it takes to warp across a medium sized system.

    2. That sort of thing is really up to CCP. What we the players need to communicate to them is what we want from nPOSes at a high level, CCP's job is to come up with the exact details.