**Mildly Long Post Warning**
As most of us know the recent changes in space have all but shut down space travel and for good reason. The space ships are (L), and most people can't afford more than ONE ship with ONE thruster. Face it most people play on a budget, a tight one.
They do NOT want to risk getting shot down every single time you enter space. So setting aside balence and fairness for a moment since one really must give up hope of either after a while, and this becomes a question of economics.
MA has just shut down interplantary travel and trade. This is counter productive, to them and to us. Economies as a rule always need new markets to tap. New planets bring new markets, which brings new business and growth.
I've never really understood the mindset at MA that seems to continuously attempt to sabotage this basic principle but then, I no longer really care. That's they way they are, and how they're going to continue to be. This said, I would be remiss if I were to simply criticize, and not offer perspective and solutions.
Now, we obviously have two ideas, not mine, floating about.
The first being of course, return the safe zones to their planetary orbits and assign them scaled values equivalent to the range they had before. That's a good start. But it is only a start.
As many have pointed out, safe zones act as a barrel, the pilots the fish and the pirates the guys with the guns. Not a happy ending for the fish.
The second idea is of course, multi-point spawning. This is also a good start. The problem with this being that eventually, once there are enough, the pirates will make soc. based fleets.
Yes. For a time they will fight each other, but eventually dominance will be asserted, spawn locations will be determined, and the camping will resume. Nothing gets solved.
So I offer a third suggestion that is designed to put the pirates on their toes and give them things to think about other than the poor pilot who is just trying to get from A-B without any cargo but the customer who just paid for the flight.
My suggestion is this, create AI patrolled travel routes between planets and space stations.
There is lore to back this up, not that we needed lore to justify anything apparently, but it is there.
The Calypso Defense Force, we know, from various communications and transcripts has Capital Class ships. Inevitably, they will have smaller fighter and bomber style craft as well. Now of course, they are fighting the robot menace which threatens all colonists so we can't really expect them to travel to the far flung reaches of space to hunt down a few pirates.
But we can expect them to heavily patrol the orbit of the planets, and major stations like Crystal Palace and FOMA. Right along the edges of the established safezones and a little further out. That just makes sense.
Then there are of course the three major corporations. Surely these vast conglomerates are just as interested in colonizing outlying worlds as the rest of us. And no doubt they plan to protect their investments. So travelling between various locations can be armed convoys. Which can be used for protection.
Now there's the lore basis. How would it work?
MA has inadvertantly provided a partial answer. Ship titles. First, ship titles need to be not so easily lost or modified. That's the first step.
When a player starts out, they're neutral. The Calypso Defense Force will protect them, and Corporation Convoys will ignore them.
If a player simply chooses to transport passengers and cargo peacefully, they will eventually earn the title "Notable," an already established ship title. Now not only will the Calypso Defense Force come to their aid, so will Corporation Convoys.
If a player chooses to be a pirate they of course get the established "Rude" title. With this title, they will immediately be targeted by Calypso Defense Force Ships and Corporation Convoys as hostile entities. They can not land on Planets, CP, or FOMA, until their title has returned to neutral.
Title remains in place for three days, minimum, and is renewed everytime a peaceful or neutral player is shot at.
In addition to shooting at players, shooting at Calypso Defense Force ships, earn you the "Rude" Title. Shooting at Corporation Convoys, will have no effect on your title either way.
So now you have balence. You have a safezone in which to spawn, you have different spawn points so it's harder to track you from launch to orbit. And most importantly you have guys with guns keeping an eye on the peaceful people for a little while as they exit the safezone.
It doesn't change the need to go into PvP lootable. It's not an absolutely "safe" system, which I'm sure pirates would hate. It gives people who can't afford big ships, big guns, and fast computers a chance.
Suggested Ships and Difficulty:
Calpyso Defense Force Ships:
Patrol Safe Zone around Calpyso Planet and Station, Rocktropia, Arkadia, Next Island, CP and FOMA.
Strength values represented as x1, x2, x3, x4, etc. This being the number of enemy Quads it should be able to easily defeat in group combat.
CDF Escort (x0.5) - Lootable - 35% No Loot
This is your basic escort fighter, easily dealt with one on one, and occasioanlly 2-1 if you have good piloting skills and the right weapons loadout.
CDF Escort Leader (x1) - Lootable - 30% No Loot.
This is a veteran pilot, get ready for a dogfight, because they know their stuff.
CDF Fighter Ace (x2) - Lootable - 27% No loot.
Bring your A game, your guns, and a buddy, this guy's shot down more ships than you have fingers and toes. If you're not careful, you won't have those either.
CDF Decimator Bomber (x1.5) - Lootable - 29% No Loot.
Built more for carpet bombing targets planetside after dropping from orbit, you still need to watch for the auto-tracking laser turrets on the top and bottom of this ship.
CDF Colonial Justice Bomber (x2) - Lootable - 28% No Loot
Don't let the ponderously slow nature of this ship fool you. Outfited with a homing missle pod and auto-tracking rapid fire plasma turrets, this foe might just bring your to justice.
CDF Night Watchman (5x) - Lootable - 15% No Loot
Your basic destroyer style escort ship, capable of handling several fighters on its own, with or without fighter support.
CDF Adjudicator (x7) - Lootable - 13% No Loot.
Thicker armor, higher power guns and better engines than its Night Watchman kin. Bring a few extra friends or get ready to join the robot menace in the scrap heap.
CDF Centurion (10x) - Lootable - 10% No loot.
Now you're either really crazy, desperate, or can smell those ATH. Not sure how. No air in space. But if you're really looking for a fight, this cruiser class ship will send you and your buddies home rich....or dead. Most likely, dead.
CDF Pandemonium (15x) - Lootable - 5% No Loot.
So you think you and the 14 buddies in Quads you brought think you can pick a fight with this battleship huh? Well good luck, you're going to need it.
CDF Void Wraith (x25) - Lootable - 0% No loot.
This is the pinnacle of the CDFs combat fleet, armed with heavy plating and engines fast enough to hunt down Quad pilots with ease. As if that wasn't bad enough, this Dreadnought, has a main cannon capable of taking out a colonist issued Mothership. But then you will probably be more busy dodging the two dozen or so full rotation, auto-tracking, charged particle turrets that cut into Quad plating like hot butter.
CDF Patrol Fleet Makeups:
Spawns every 3 minutes, replaces ships every 2, unless entire fleet is destroyed.
-CDF Escorts - 2
-CDF Leader/Ace -1
Medium: Spawns every 7-10 minutes, replaces ships every 4, unless fleet is destroyed.
-CDF Escorts - 3-4
-CDF Escort Leader - 1
-CDF Ace/Decimator Bomber - 1-2
-CDF Escorts - 6-8
-CDF Ace - 0-1
-CDF Night Watchman/Colonial Justice Bomber - 1
Large: Spawns every 15 minutes, replaces ships every 6, unless fleet is destroyed.
-CDF Escorts 7-8
-CDF Aces - 3-4
-CDF Night Watchman 1-2
-CDF Adjudicator - 1-2
-CDF Centurion - 1
-CDF Escorts 4-6
-CDF Aces - 4-5
-CDF Adjudicators 1-2
-CDF Pandemonium/Void Wraith - 1
Corporate Convoys: Omegaton, Chikara, and Genesis Star.
Each of the the major corporations will be represented, however they will all use the same ship types. I.e. all ships in a convoy belong to the same corporation, but all corporations use similar ships.
Patrol designated routes, starting from safe zones around planets and stations, and ending at safe zones elsewhere. Despawn upon arrival in the next safe zone, if not destroyed.
-- used to represent the affiliated name for the ship, such as "Genesis Star Scout"
-- Scout (x0.1) - Not lootable
These will be found ahead or behind a convoy. If shot down they will increase the aggro rate of the entire convoy, if the other ships have not already come under attack.
-- Convoy Escort (x0.2) - Lootable - 50% No Loot.
Not as well trained or armed as the CDF one well trained Quad pilot can easily dispatch several of these low quality fighters with ease.
-- Mercenary (x0.5) - Lootable - 35% No loot
Hired guns, trained, relatively well equiped. One or two is not a problem, don't get in a fight with several though. Not alone anyway.
-- Elite Mercenary (x1.5) - Lootable - 30% No Loot
These guys are CDF Academy rejects. Anger management issues, itchy trigger fingers, psychological problems. That plus decent training, and some good weapons made these guys serious contenders in dogfights.
-- Research Ship (3x) - Lootable - 25% No Loot
Built mainly for orbiting planets and collecting vital data on the surrounding atmospheric readings, this ship still pack a punch with four tight beam laser cannons. Slow as...*transmission interference*...though.
-- Light Cargo Transport (x4) - Lootable - 22% No Loot
Slow, heavy armor, lots of structural integrity. Four top mounted and two underside, rotating laser turrets make hitting this ship a little tricker. Worth the effort though, who knows what's in the hold.
-- Heavy Cargo Transport (x6) - Lootable - 20% No Loot
Slow, but increased armor and defense. Larger engines compensate for the increased mass. Travels at almost the same speed as the Light Version. Oh and watch the full complement of 10 auto-tracking plasma turrets.
-- Asteroid Miner (x8) - Lootable - 15% No Loot
Travels strictly between planets picking up errant debris and space rocks which it then stores in its cargo holds and processes into unseful minerals. Armed with military grade, auto tracking turrets, and two homing missile launchers. Don't let the size fool you. This thing can almost out run a Quad. Almost.
-- Fuel Tanker (x10) - Lootable - 13% No Loot
Lightly armed, and fast. Used to refuel fleets mid flight. Due to the precious nature of the cargo, this ship has a full battery of laser, plasma, and ion turrets. Warning, destroying this ship will cause large explosions and heavy damage to all ships in the local vicinity.
-- Ruthless (x15) - Lootable - 7% No Loot
The only "true" Capital Class ship allowed the corporations is the "Ruthless" Frigate. Built at high cost and with the expressed permission of the CDF for each ship, the highest value cargo and convoys are guarded with these ships.
They are of course, armed to the teeth with military grade equipment and perhaps a few black market goodies to turn even small fleets of pirates into space dust. Capable of taking on a colonist class Mothership, with fighter support.
Patrol Fleet Makeups:
Corporation Convoys will generally be larger in ship numbers and spread out more, to allow for wider area battles, allowing hit and run tactics by pirates, and to make up for the weaker nature of the ships.
Small: Spawns every 5 minutes at a planet or major station, does not replace ships. 6 in space at any given time.
-- Convoy Escorts - 3-5
-- Mercenaries - 1-2
-- Research Ship/Light Cargo Transport - 1
Medium: Spawns every 10-15 minutes
at a planet or major station. Replenishes fighters of random level, 1 every 4 minutes. 3 in space at any given time.
-- Convoy Escorts - 5-7
-- Mercenaries - 3-4
-- Elite Mercenaries 1-2
-- Light Cargo Transport 1-2
-- Heavy Cargo Transport 0-1
-- Convoy Escorts 6-8
-- Mercenaries 4-6
-- Elite Mercenaries 2-4
-- Light/Heavy Cargo Transports 3-4
Spawns every 30-45 minutes, replenishes ships every 5-7 minutes. Only one large fleet will exist at any given time in space until it reaches its destination or is destroyed.
-- Convoy Escorts - 9-12
-- Mercenaries - 7-9
-- Elite Mercenaries - 5-7
-- Light/Heavy Cargo Transports - 4-6
-- Fuel Tanker - 1
-- Rutheless - 0-1
-- Convoy Escorts - 6-9
-- Mercenaries - 7-8
-- Elite Mercenaries - 6-8
-- Light/Heavy Cargo Transports - 3-4
-- Asteroid Miner - 1
-- Fuel Tanker - 1
-- Rutheless - 1-2
Now, not only can colonists seeking a more peaceful business-like approach to space use these AI ships for some modicum of protection, pirate players have something else to shoot for, and at.
These things said, it falls to MA and MA alone to make the loot acceptably good. Enough to cover the decay on (L) class ships, (L) class weapons, Ammo, Fuel, and the various levels of No Loot.
Naturally as with any idea, large in scale, there might be problems I haven't thought of. please, politely point them out. There's room for everyone in space, we just need to figure out how to make it work.
Last edited by Ken Dei; 10-06-2011 at 00:49.
Bring back the safety zones in Space..or a safety bubble. Whoever thought removal was a good idea just bite the bullet and admit that idea was Stupid!
Back to OP, MA will always choose the simplest solution that suits them first, i.e. smallest amount of development to fit into the schedule and atm thats to replace the safe zones. I'm just surprised we've not had any response from them on the matter.
Random distances from the spawn point is possible and so is random locations as anyone logging in when the server they were on is down can confirm.
But anything beyond mob level AI is unlikely.