Sunday, August 12, 2012

Response to the Response on the POS Redesign

Following the release of the minutes of the June CSM summit, some people have had some big concerns with the outline of the replacement POS system described at that summit. I'm really glad to hear people discussing the changes, and the entire reason we had the discussion at the summit was to involve the CSM and the community in the design of the replacement POS system as early as possible. Right now, the discussions are happening in a thread on the official forums ( as well as a thread on Failheap Challenge ( This blog post is a response to the points raised in those two threads as well as concerns raised by people that have contacted me directly. While the following is my personal opinion, I don't just present my opinions to CCP, I always include as much as possible about the sentiments of the community that I was elected to represent.

I want to re-emphasize that the POS system design is just starting now, and will not be in the winter expansion. There is still a lot of work to be done on the design, and nothing at all is set in stone. I also wanted to mention that CCP has some technical reasons to not want to have forcefields in the new system, but those reasons were declared to be under the NDA, so I cannot go into them. The removal of the forcefield is a decision that they made, and is not something that I would choose to do myself, but I am not an employee of CCP and I don't have to do the work to keep them. Lastly, I should point out that not all the discussion on these mechanics happened during the official summit, there was a fair amount talked about in the evening after the formal meetings, and this stuff is not in the minutes.

Docking Games

In the threads, the biggest problem people have with the system that was discussed is that a docking module would bring k-space style "docking games" to wormhole space. I understand this concern, but I do not think it will be nearly as big of a problem as some people seem to think. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1) We already have "forcefield games", and people just don't complain about that all that much. The difference would probably be fairly minor between the two mechanisms.
2) The vast majority of fights in w-space are not outside a POS, they are at wormholes or in sites. The new POS system will still have POS defenses, and that means the new system probably wouldn't change where people fight.

Scouting and Intel

The second biggest worry in the threads is the concern that the removal of forcefields would remove the information about who is at a POS, how active they are, and what ships they are in. I agree with this concern, and asked CCP about a solution to this in the minutes:
3) Force fields (or lack thereof). CCP wants to have docking modules, but they don't want them to be cheap, and they may want to limit the number of ships that can be docked. CCP has been exploring adding mooring modules that would protect a ship that was able to physically get near the module with a small force field around just the ship. This system might replace ship maintenance arrays.  
Two step pointed out that this system might be nice for docking as well, so that people can get some indication of how many people are active in a starbase, especially in w-space where there is no local chat.
I will continue to urge CCP to make a system for players to be able to see who is active in a docked POS. Ideally this would include the ship they are currently in, as well as the number of players that are docked.

Another common concern expressed in the threads is that without forcefields, there would be no easy way to tell if a POS is online or offline. I would like to see CCP address this, but as Vassal Zeren pointed out (, I would expect any new POS system to have a mechanism for people to hack or steal offline POSes. If that was the case, making it a little more work to detect an offline POS might be reasonable, as the reward for finding one would be good.

Full Moon Coverage

Some people were also worried that because POSes would be allowed to be anchored anywhere, having full moon coverage would no longer be a way to deny an enemy a beachhead when invading. I actually see this as a good thing. Invading one of the larger w-space entities like my corporation (AHARM) or some of the other big alliances is already really hard, and I don't think making it slightly easier will be a change for the worse. People will still have to move multiple waves of capital ships in, they will still have to fight where the defender probably has an edge in capitals, and they will still have the disadvantage of facing POS guns/EWar.

The good

The main reason I would prefer to see CCP make docking part of the new POS mechanics is because CCP has proven that they have a lot of trouble getting even one inventory system right. The reason you can't assemble T3s or have your own personal storage space right now is because getting that to work requires CCP to write two sets of code, one for docked ships and one for POSes. I just don't have a lot of faith that CCP won't continue to make people that live in POSes second class citizens. If we have the same interface as everyone else, then whatever bugs we have to deal with will be the same bugs that people in empire have to deal with, which means they (probably) won't languish unfixed for years like the T3 refitting bug.

Another good thing about allowing docking at POSes is that we then get a fuller set of features. I made a list of the features off the top of my head in a post on the official forums ( and I will highlight a few of the more important ones:
  • Contracts. This isn't all that important right now because we don't have personal storage, but allowing people within a corp or alliance to drop items off for other people is a really useful thing. This might include things like courier contracts, which would enable people to haul stuff into and out of a hole for others.
  • Full fitting and inventory services. This includes assembling and refitting T3s but also fitting a ship from a saved fitting, repackaging ships and items and a lot more.
  • Refining. People don't like the current POS refining system (at least that is what they tell me, I don't actually mine myself). This would be a path to having a real refining capability without limits on throughput and yield.
  • Real access rights and container access. This includes fixing dumb bugs like not being able to open cans in corp hangars as well as using password protected cans and the current corp hangar access system to provide more granular access to corp assets.
  • Clone switching. This is not jump cloning into and out of w-space, but lots of people would like to have the ability to switch between different implant sets. I'd love to see this available to all pilots, and if that happens, it would probably be in the station interface, not by adding some sort of new POS module.
  • Privacy. This isn't a big deal for some corps, but right now a lot of people can see exactly what people have in their POS, depending on how it is set up. In k-space, pilots have the option to use alts or a station without a corp office to hide what they have from people within their corp, and I don't see why w-space people shouldn't have that option. Obviously directors will have to be able to see into people's private storage, if only to be able to empty a POS to take it down, but there is no reason that anyone else should be able to see what people have.

Why Change?

People are rightfully very nervous about the upcoming new POS system. I am also nervous, but the right reaction isn't to claim the sky is falling and that CCP (or me, or the other CSM) are out to "ruin" w-space. CCP agrees with me that w-space is generally working pretty well, but the trust problem is actually a really big problem for people who would like to get into w-space.

This comic ( is actually far more appropriate for w-space corps, and this is a *bad* thing. A lot of w-space people spend a lot of time talking about how great w-space is, but many, many people can't join in on the fun because of the difficult recruitment process.

"But Two step, all you have to do is fix X, Y and Z in the current POS system! Don't change anything else!" This is another common refrain from the eve-o thread. People who say this are being unrealistic. The current POS system is creaky and old, and making changes to it is not something CCP is interested in doing. The cost for them is very high, and the likelihood of a change breaking something else that we all hold near and dear is higher still. As CCP has explained several times, this is simply not an option. A big part of being on the CSM is that you need to understand exactly which battles you need to fight, and this isn't one of them.

Not the end, just the start of the beginning

As I said before, nothing at all is set in stone, and this is very early in the process. CCP has just started to think about how to design a replacement for the POS system, and feedback from the players and the CSM is very important. I do think it is really important for all of us to think really carefully about the feedback we give and to make sure we don't just react negatively to any change at all, especially when I think it will be for the better. This is also just the start of the discussion between all of the CSM and the players about what you want to see in a POS system. I'd encourage everyone to continue to talk to us, either on the forum threads I linked, via eve-mail, twitter or in our upcoming town hall meeting (date and time to be announced very soon!)


  1. I didn't read the CSM minutes (and won't :words:) but why is there no mention of the effect on supercaps this will have?

    Will the docking thing apply to supers and titans as well? If not, this means just LOGGING IN supers/titans is a risk, making them EVEN LESS likely to be used anymore.

    Getting rid of FF sounds interesting, but docking supers/titans is a big concern too, something I don't expect you to understand this being a WH dwelling dude though

    1. If I remember right from the minutes, Titan/supers are the prime benefactors of the 'tethering' idea. So they'll be in space, but as long as they're in the right place, they'll be protected.

  2. I highly dislike the move away from forcefields and towards docking. There's a huge number of reasons for it:
    - There's a reason few people complain about forcefield games: they are a superior mechanic to docking games.
    - It is important to be able to determine who is active in a wormhole and what ships they're flying.
    - It is important to determine what ships are in a wormhole via seeing what people move around in SHAs
    - It is important to be able to store ships in a POS for use by people not in corp.
    - It is important to be able to determine whether the POSes in a system are online or offline. This is true both in and out of WH space.
    - I've never done it, but I believe scorched earth is a totally valid policy and I wouldn't like to see it removed.

    There's a lot more but this is all I have time for right now. :)

    1. Agreeing with force field games seeing fewer complaints than docking games because force field games suck less. They really, really do. I think the difference here is related to the transparency: you can see when a ship is approaching a force field. This is vastly different from station games. If the station games introduced still allow for a heads-up of a ship motoring out of its safety range, hilarious ship theft, and no timers, then hey presto, it wouldn't be so different after all.

  3. There should be also a system integrated into the POS where you can either block some persons/corp/alliance from entering your POS, or allowing a corp/alliance/persons one by one to access your POS. Like a firewall rule set, or the chat settings for finer control over the access rights!

  4. I really like how X3: Terran Conflict handled docking in some of its stations.

    That bar hanging off the station, above the capital ship? That's a docking arm. It can dock a limited number of ships (25 subcaps or 2 caps I think), all of which are visible from space with enough detail to tell what ship it is, who its pilot is, and what faction they belong to. Ships connected to the docking arm are untargetable until they undock. If the station is destroyed, the ships are destroyed along with it.

  5. Ok, about teh whole docking thing, imagine this. When you dock at the POS, you go to the normal station interface, exept that instead of the usual interior and ship to spin, to see the pos in space the same way you usually see the ship. (Which you could then spin, very important... :p )
    Your ACTIVE ship would be tethering outside the POS. This actaully fix a LOT of issues.
    * Others would be able to see active people docked, due to tethering.
    * You would be able to see who is at the POS before undocking (or un-tethering as it is)
    * Spy's would be able to still gather intel as jumping into other shipsfor fitting would actaully show them at the POS.

    I know this I a more complex sulution as it mixes current station environment with space, but it could not hurt for CCP to think about it...

  6. Follow up on privacy: if you could set SMA-replacementdingywhats to "private to X person", "restricted to x role/group" (with more granular roles, perhaps even making special roles for having access to certain hangars) or "corporate/alliance" then that would be excellent. It would work even better if you had various sizes of SMA-replacements, but that's up to CCP. Privacy is great, but not having to be on the spot to eject a ship for a corpmate is great too. Letting us fine-tune that would be magical.

    I see where you're coming from re: CCP having issues maintaining separate inventory formats, but I'd like to hear from them where exactly the trouble begins. Giving us station services in POSes is fine, and using the same full-screen interface is fine, but until they settle on how they're doing that and how they plan to replace force fields and SMAs, there's not much we can say other than "omg docking no" or "omg docking yay", which turns into a forum death spiral. Once they have a concrete idea about how they're going to change the current float-in-space-and-access-things mechanic, please encourage them to seek feedback sooner rather than later. Modular POSes can have modular devblogs! We can all robble robble about POS guns and so on after that's been sorted.

  7. i was actually excited about here the new pos mechanics. I never once thought of docking games because the damn bugger can still be blown up unlike kspace stations. me personally i do like the idea of the not knowing when siegeing a wh. the whole idea of uncertainty and paranoia that comes with wh life has made pvp that much more thrilling. i actully lost intrest in kspace pvp because the odds are always accountable, where in wh space you sometime just don't know if someone is sitting just outside your dscan range sometimes or just sitting cloaked. I have also been told that my view on what i would like pvp is a little too novel and naive. I like the idea of a unknown outcome in a fight. I always like the idea of pvp being like gambling at vegas, but i would see time and time again in k space its just a numbers game of bodies in many cases or money. Though i have also seen where it truelly came down to skill, but i would love to see skill and planning for the worse to have a bigger impact. But i am rambling at this point.
    Most of the pros out weigh most of my cons with the proposals. The one thing i am concerned about is the idea of setting up anywhere and using a station in place of a warp bubble to control wh traffic.

  8. One thing that doesn't adress me, but many miners. Currently, the mining booster is safe inside the POS shields and completely untouchable. Is it intended to have that mining boost ship in a docking-game-start-position that the current mooring plans indicate? If major changes to the docking itself were to be done, please consider the impact it might have. From my point of view, I might have 20 seconds to shoot before batteries lock on to me, so this mooring concept sounds like a drive-by-shooting for every (afk-)orca-pilot. Boosting is an afk-activity for the most part.