Monday, 6 April 2015

The Structure Problem Deux

My previous gripes about POSs dealt with the problems with the proposed Fozziesov mechanic for POSs and a quick by the numbers on the Keynote structure talk.

It is worth, however, reiterating what is actually currently wrong with the EHP/DPS game and the current meta of POS warfare and structure grinds. Mostly this is so you are all aware, if you've somehow missed it, what's wrong and why it needs fixing. The how of fixing it is the contention.

EHP Walls
Firstly, EHP is too high. Consider a small POS with minimal hardening. 10,000,000 Shield  @ 25% = 12.5M EHP minimum if you aren't an idiot and you shoot for the lowest resist. If you pick the highest, 15M. The reason you even see blocking towers in wormholes (viz. offline towers anchored on every moon) and squatting towers in highsec (as before) is purely that it is the cheapest EHP in the universe. 55-80M ISK and 10M EHP. That's at least an hour's work for ten guys to pop one stick in high-DPS ships in order to clear away a blockade object that's preventing you either, respectively, putting up a siege tower or accessing a moon to anchor an industry POS in highsec. Plus if it's a squatting tower in highsec you need a wardec, which telescopes a threat 24 hours out, allowing the squatting tower owner to go so far as to potentially toss fuel and stront in all his sticks and prolong or prevent the whole shit show...or in fact call in "highsec PVPers" to assist the 1 man corp owning the towers.

If you start looking at bigger structures, such as a Dullstar fully hardened Dread Guristas Large with even 50% omni resists, 60M base shield HP becomes 90M EHP. To the majority of groups, that becomes a big fat nope even considering it goes into reinforced at 25%.

Our large tower has 80 sensor damps, 23 small beams, 8 ECMs (faction), 2 scrams (faction), 2 webs (faction) and flat 50% resists. Added all up, to incapacitate the guns is around 160M EHP and another 45M EHP to RF the tower. Sit down with 40 guys and waste a day, please. Therefore, basically impregnable only because of EHP.

This is an elephant in the room for keeping the current POS mechanisms and architecture - conflict is prevented entirely outside of building a dread in our wormhole (good luck) because I can cheaply pile on insane EHP. So, yes, the current system should change to some degree to prevent such egregious EHP walls (and that's not even getting to the heart of the defensive philosophy).

Infinite Defences
Remember where I mentioned you could anchor and online POS guns infinitely, even when your POS was reinforced? Well, that's just fucked. But it is apparently working as intended. The philosophy behind it is barking mad - to illegally quote a GM, it's to "allow the defenders a last ditch chance to defend their assets." by anchoring 50 large pulse batteries around a reinforced, crippled POS and online them one after another until the cows come home.

So. You take our 80 damp batteries, spend a shitload of wasted time incapping them, and then I deploy my strategic reserve of 40 large pulse batteries and 20 more ECM's and more damp batteries during the witching hour when you're mostly asleep. You wake up in the morning to a fully functional deathstar yet again, and have to contemplate reducing all of the guns to rubble again.

The new POS fitting will hopefully stop this. it depends if you can refit the guns on the fly using an orca, a DST or a Nestor (or some combo thereof) to fiddle-faddle the POS fit while it's deployed. It also depends whether the POS guns can be shot away or whether they cannot. But either way, the current system of infinite defence is just bullshit retarded - in my opinion, if your POS has been shot to pieces, your choices should be to let it burn or to repair the guns for defence, not just tack ever more guns on. This is why you see the Deathstar POSs with, no shit, 200 guns anchored around them. I honestly don't know why you'd bother - just keep the guns in a hangar array and deploy them as needed.

The solution is not Entosis
Sure, this sounds rightly bullshit. There is a reason we don't siege people out much anymore. Not only is it often unprofitable no matter how spendy the POS, how blingy the ships they fly and how idiotic their defences, because 90% of the time they just drive everything into a puddle of petrol and toss a match out the window - the whole process rarely results in a good fight. You maybe gank a couple of bombers, the odd Drake or hauler, and one weekend later you shoot up a few things and the POS, and if you're lucky make 250M from the deal. Sometimes they batphone and you get a good fight, most times the batphone is overwhelming and you scuttle away, time wasted.

Plus, more prosaically, if you siege out your prey completely, they may not come back and you can't gank them later. Tragedy of the commons.

So there are two ways it goes at the moment, barring a grudge match or mouthy cunts who make people angry. First, the idiots who you waste time sieging and get no fights from, even badly fit POSs have masses of EHP which turns a content generation exercise into a chore and a grind. Secondly, you have the professionally fit Deathstar, Dampstar and Dickstar POSs are too much of a PITA to attack, and Dullstars can go hang because....meh, boring.

The game balance problem is finding a level at which the new POSs, with their lesser numbers of guns maintain the same deterrent firepower and threat to an attacker, also become less egregious in EHP than the current ridiculous maxima achievable by cunning or half-informed people.

The new structures must be defensible enough that they aren't complete ten minute pushovers, whilst also not being impregnable due to massive EHP walls.

Entosis mechanisms will certainly resolve the EHP vs DPS problem, but it will make the POSs far too vulnerable, especially if the POS guns don't auto fire. Arguably, even by simply removing the guns themselves, you remove a huge chunk of EHP from the equation. In the case of my POS, it's 160M EHP. in anyone's book, that's a fucking huge amount of EHP which will just disappear. Sure, the POS itself might have 45M EHP, but that's achievable for most organisations of an equal size to Prolapse. who may consider attacking us for pew pew content creation.

It is also a huge barrier to casual faggotry and trolling. You have to invest some time blazing away at my POS, defenceless or not, before i become concerned. You have to be organised and committed and want a fight, versus just being bored.

To my mind, merely removing the POS guns and nixing the infinite defences, will pull POSs a lot closer to being in balance and less of a boring content creation exercise.


  1. Those EHP walls are huge for a small gang but a supercap/dread fleet will burn through them fast enough, which is probably the reason it currently is this way.

    1. When POSs were put in the game, there were no supers. Dreads were still a relatively rare thing. Certainly the nullsec ecology was far healthier back then. Even Band of Brothers had cap fleets which didn't really top 20 at a time. It is a chicken and egg kind of argument - did people blob up caps to overcome EHP walls, thus resolving the equation, and forming the Blue Donut, or did the Blue Donut just evolve and cause blobbing by itself, and thus resolved the EHP wall problem by default?

      Not 100% sure, but I'm pretty sure the Blue Donut was politically forced movement. 100 battleships can take apart a deathstar POS in no time, with as little as 6 logi cruisers. Lots of organisations can field 100 battleships. or, these days, Ishtars.

      Capitals make it faster for smaller organisations, but after a while it becomes academic. not sure if you've been on a nullsec slowcat grind fleet, but when you do have a structure grind fleet it RF's an outpost inside of one siege cycle. POS's are just blapped.

      You will therefore not see a lot of actually deathstarred POSs in nullsec, because if your sov is going to be flipped by a cap blob, no amount of POS guns is going to save you. it becomes about the timer - someone sets your timer to suit them, based on a 40 hour reinforcement, and you defend or not.

      But in wormholes, it all falls apart and becomes a serious problem. Well, apart from C5-6 space, where you can seed caps relatively easily, if you really want to. But the defenders also have more leeway to defend with caps, too, and are likely to do so. But still, you can take deathstars apart with blobs of subcaps, and we've seen 200-a-side fights in wormholes before, so it's quite possible.


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