Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You Can't Stop the Signal

Bit of a think piece here.

There have been many discussion about intel gathering and the function of Local in the various regions of space.  I always find it odd that our comms travel at FTL speeds.  Our ships do too, actually, but that is another issue for another post.  While thinking about the value of local, I've had some random ideas to inflict upon you.  These ideas are generally meant to affect communications between systems, not inside a particular system.

Comms in Empire

It seems odd to me, given sec status and jump gate control by factions, that everyone always gets to see the whole local list and chat.  Why would the Gallente let a known criminal use their gates and their comms?  I've always envisioned that the comms system in Eve uses the jump gates to get around the Cluster, with all of our messages making trips similar to our ships.  So perhaps chat could become a function of your standing with the various empires, with high standing payers getting higher priority and criminals or negative standing players cut out of the loop.  Effectively the jump gates would see your pod status and use that to determine your comms level.

The Wild West

Low sec would be a no-man's land, with the authorities not bothering to monitor local at all.  Here Local would be a better tool than in high sec for all players, as everyone gets to see it.  Perhaps a fee system would be set up to use comms in low sec, with players paying a small fee (hello isk sink) to get access to comms operated by unscrupulous yet profit minded npc comm cartels.

The Abyssal Plains

Comms in nul sec could be controlled by the powers that be, with small comm relay stations placed by sov holders, with access based on standings or fees.  Each bloc could regulate comms as they see fit.  Attackers could black out communications in order to disrupt defense.  Imagine a small cadre of stealth bombers swooping in and taking out comm stations as the main fleets prepare to enter.  Suddenly the local defenders are cut off from outside support!

Problems, Always Problems...

I can see two counters to all of these ideas.  The first is meta-game based, in that players with 3rd party voice comms will have an advantage.  Not much can be done about this.  The second would be rigs, modules, or (!) crew you could add to a ship that would get around the rules.  Fit a module that hacks into local comm relays, or bypasses Empire security systems.  Create a class of ship that would be a dedicated comms hub, maybe piggyback on command ships, electronic attack frigates or stealth/recon classes for this?

However you look at it, there could be a whole new dynamic added to the game based on changing comms/local, and I think it could add to the depth of Eve.

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