POS Defense

The EVE student council (aka CSM) notes have come out, a hefty 100+ page document that only the sad, lonely and fanatic read cover to cover.  The rest of us read “Jester’s Digest“.

So, whats the topic that has everyone riled so much?  This time its not the Jesus features of walking in station or the noble gallantry of faction warfare. No it is our little home in the prairies, the infamous Player Operated Station or POS.  To live out of a POS is rough.  It is very insecure, it can die of neglect or siege.  It is a total nightmare to manage and operate and nobody actually likes setting one up. It takes hours of to move the little gun things around like a badly designed minecraft.  The open nature of POS hangars allows awoxers to steal all the goodies we accumulate, fly away in my prized Tengu and offline it for good measure and tears.  It has the most archaic defense mechanic with byzantine rules what qualifies as an enemy and its biggest defense is not cunning or brawn, no, its plain boredom.  The name “Dickstar” says it all – it means to be even more annoying to those who want it dead than to those who want it alive.  And that’s hard to do, I tell you.

But like every ugly duckling, it is loved by its parents.  In this case, us the WH dwellers came to love the big stick, blue bubble or just “home”.  I lived for 1 1/2 years exclusively out of several POSs and believe me, no sight is more welcome after a hairy fuel trip through low security that the sight of my big blue, pulsing bubble.  Which I personally set up there.  There are many like it but this one is mine because I invested so much time in setting it up.  And I will defend it harder than some station in low sec space which is generic and forgettable.  

For us, the WH dwellers, that Blue Ball is home, because it was such a b**** to set up, not despite.  

Wormhole dwellers are the frontiersmen. We are the explorers, the hardy Irish escaping the content famines in Empire space and venturing boldly into the Unknown systems without gates, stations, agents or any form of infrastructure.  We make it there with sheer guts, determination, lots and lots of teamwork and many sleepless nights.  The fights make us stronger and smarter.  The constant threat of invasion makes us vigilant.  And the danger of being robbed blind by some awoxer makes us creative, suspicious, then trusting and caring for those who have proven to be friends.  The harder success comes, the more it is savored.  Our chorus of curses about the POS mechanics creates a harmony and it is that harmony that drives our corp to bond tighter than most real life families.  

I have made friends in my WH time that I dont think I would have made in Empire where a man is not rated by his character but solely by the ship he brings.  

Please don’t get me wrong, POS mechanics are a complete code mess, even a non-software engineer can see that at first glance.  POS are reputed to have been designed by some crazed CCP employee from scratch without guidance who then quit without leaving any documentation.  That is CCP’s real reason for not wanting to touch it – they don’t know where to start fixing it.  And there are things that just bad code, the forcefield passwords, the weird onlining of guns and mods, the messy way the defense modules work and the needlessly complex system of administration and access rights that make the US government look efficient.  Those need to be addressed, I agree.

But I rise to the defense of the open ship hangars.  The messy “personal” hangar space that invites theft.  The constant trade offs between onlining guns or refining arrays.  I like it because it reinforces the point that POS life is a team sport. How many times have I been scouting or getting into scraps and was able to call for support telling recruits to just take any ship they can fly from the hangar and come to my aid.  I even watched my friend Oreamnos fly my own bomber into combat – he took it because I needed to keep eyes on the enemy.  How many times have I borrowed someone’s hauler because mine was gone somewhere and I took PI from the corp hangar to high sec when a route was clear, brought back skill books and dropped them into people’s personal hangars?  How many times have I desperately looked for GSCs, missiles, warp bubbles and the like and borrowed them from my friends’ hangars and they have done the same to me?

Trust expressed under threat is the strongest bond in a team.

And CCP should remove this?  Make stations out of POSes with personal hangars and ship arrays?  No trust needed? Just show up with your ships, join fleet, shoot sleepers and log off?   Where thieves can hide their loot and are never found out?

POS are not Club Med.  We build WHs together, we share the joy of building the team and the community.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

So please CCP, do not change the POS. Fix the mechanic, enhance it, sure. Remove some arcane functionality, tweak it.  But please don’t make POS into stations with agents and insurance offices.

POS are the frontier, the edge of space, the Wild Wild West.  And we like it that way.

8 responses to “POS Defense

  1. I came from a corp with hundreds of members – who had lots of problems with theft from their WH operations. Part of the issue was that with the size and timezone differences, it was just not possible to make those personal connections between everyone with access to the POS, hence deliberate or temptation theft cases. Maybe CCP should look at a separate mechanism, halve the fitting requirements for an old style hanger and add a new one with personal hanger space.

    • I think there is a place for small corps carving out their space. Especially C1-3 where a couple of guys can run a POS with a few alt. To run a C2, you need 3-5 people with maybe 3 alts each (so 1 account). Its not hard, evictions are rare (from low level WHs) and if you set up smartly you make a lot of ISK and have fun with a few friends. Our C2 is bigger but boy are they active – just look at our killboard (BWMT), they love the color red…

  2. I like how you speak in favor of the current theft-prone hangers because they breed trust and make a stronger team. For a small corp it’s possible to know everyone else but when you get hundreds of players in a corp a lot of them might be strangers.

    The fact that anyone could run off with the majority of my WH assets is one of the reasons I dont live in one. (And because I am too casual and wouldn’t be able to defend my own wormhole effectively).

    • You are totally correct. The corps I flew in were very small and although we got robbed twice, we were able to create a very high degree of trust among the remaining pilots. Maybe, just maybe, WH space is not designed for mega corporations? Maybe, just maybe it is the last frontier of the small corporation of friends. Nullsec for this matter is dead – if you are not a goon or a Russian, you are not going to fly there (with Sov). So, it leaves WH space.

      The last thing, you say that anyone could run off with your WH assets. That is actually not correct. Many corps (all of ours) have systems in place to limit the amount of damage any one person can exert. Some corps go as far to force you to use your own tower. I’d turn it around. If you bring it to a WH, consider it lost. There is no need to have more than 1/3 of your capital brought into a WH. And if you have never lived in a WH but want to try it out, mail me (Epigene) in-game and I introduce you to our WH academy. it would be a shame if you didnt get to see the coolest content of New Eden

  3. Nobody is suggesting we lose the ability to have shared ship storage, just a new module which allowed each person to have their own space would be a massive improvement. Consider a mini-POCO type SMA that allowed ships and a similar mini-POCO type CHA for random crap. Each one looks different for whoever opens it.

    More people in W-space is going to increase different trust pressures through higher numbers of people. We would still be vulnerable to corp ship theft, infiltration and all the other stuff. At the end of the day, if these newstyle SMAs got exploded everyone still loses their ships.

    W-space needs more people. Simple fact.

    • WH needs more people – true enough. I think a lot of people dont know about the playstyle in Wormholes – hence was our little academy that to this day works great.

      But the argument is now how to make WH more accessible and I am not convinced that it is done with the POS mechanic. After all, the real bear for POSes is the management, not the living out of it. Reducing the management frees directors up to – well – play EVE and recruit new players. ‘

      I was going to write a top 10 list of changes I would want from EVE for POS but I think thats too shortsighted with respect to the comments. It isn’t about POS mechanics anymore. It is about “player housing” in the greater sense. You suggested to occupy the sleeper stations (awesome!), others talked about little pup-tents / shelters that persist through stealth. All of those are great ideas and we need to look at POS life with all of those opportunities in mind.

  4. “POS are reputed to have been designed by some crazed CCP employee from scratch without guidance who then quit without leaving any documentation. That is CCP’s real reason for not wanting to touch it – they don’t know where to start fixing it”.

    I read that I laughed, when I read it again I laughed even more. It’s just funny. That’s the kind of guy you don’t likely fire at a company. He’s the kind of guy at every company that knows where everything is, or where to kick the machine in the right spot to make it all work. There is a guy like that at almost every company that’s been there a while. So its always funny to me when I read something like that. True or otherwise.

    Maybe the guy got let go by CCP, maybe it was a few guys. But later on he/they sits at the bar sipping a beer and read of CCP woes and he laugh’s and says ….. yeah i got umm by the balls taking pleasure he’s the only one that understands the damn code. Which is why CCP don’t wanna touch it to revamp it and confess they will have to completely rewrite the whole system for documentation sake as well. I worked at a few companies and at every one knows a guy like that.

    Me… i’d buy a guy like that a dozen beers and I don’t even drink anymore. But I like a guy like that who when CCP said way back when we need something new and exciting, maybe a player station something. That guy responded and say hmm… I can maybe build a station kinda and did that and just went and did it himself. And months later CCP had a new System them touted to the players as their now new POS. But maybe in time that guy decides to move on or maybe he got let go, who knows. But when he walked out the door on his last day, he likely left securely knowing “I’m the only one that knows that damn code lol”.

    And he thinks to himself that one day…. CCP will regret ever letting me go if they did let him go if they ever had to go back and work on POS.

    And the thing is I find shit like that funny, because it happens every day at companies. You work there for years, you do your job, you learn the damn systems you work on. You become damn good at what you did. You know it so good someone wake you out of a dead sleep and you can tell them where the info is they want to know at work. But the reward is some time in the future the company let you go for no correct good reason. And you say to yourself when you walk out the door, they gonna regret ever firing me. I knew people at work like that and I know one guy at work right now like that. He been there 30 years, he was there when no one else was, he knows all the legacy info and when the leaves they are screwed. They will recover, but they still will be screwed as all that knowledge will be gone with him in that case.

    And that’s the shit i find funny. People get let go all the time at companies, for some its their time to leave and they the only one that knows how the damn system work, why exactly you want to exactly fire that guy or let him go? But the shit happens and it keep happening.

    And that’s why a guy like that who maybe came up with the POS and wrote its code and now gone and no one may know how it works…. i’d buy him a dozen beers. It’s damn funny, it could be any company with a person like that. Maybe it aren’t true, but its still funny to think of it or as a conspiracy reason why CCP don’t want to touch the POS code. Hell just thinking of reasons are funny enough in itself in CCP’s case.

    • Ha, thanks for that, its exactly my experience with companies, there is always someone who has accumulated so much knowledge that the company is screwed when he leaves. And then he does. And the company keeps going. Because people notoriously overestimate just awesome and important they are.

      This changes a little with software. I have been in several projects where our team was supposed to integrate someone else’s code. With no exceptions, our software developers hated the other team’s work and proposed a total rewrite in the latest, newest, shiniest and least tested software language around. Even more confusing, the forecast was always $2 million, 5 people 2 years. Irrespective of the actual project. Seems to be some basic number, the resources to build anything. I think it is the average retention time for a software developer. Means, the project is covering their salary until they learned the new skills and find a new, higher paid job.

      But I digress. The story about the lone wolf CCP employee has been told to me by someone who has more insight into CCP than I have, lets leave it at that but I rate it as “plausible” (in Mythbuster vernacular). Its hard to see how one guy can develop the mechanics and the graphics in one shot but he kind of did. Me thinks, he started with the blue bubble which I still think is genius and it went downhill from there.

      I think what scares CCP most is not actually the new code. Or the new layout. They know how to do this. But its the transition time. Across New Eden, there musts be an astronomical (!) number of POS-es with stuff in it. Each item is in fact a database entry somewhere and moving them seamlessly from one location to another without completely screwing over the game must be rather daunting. Add to this the sheer number research and manufacturing processes running across all POSes and I dont think you can transition everything within one single downtime. Maybe phased approach would be best – first WHs (because we are the few who don’t matter) and then the other systems. Or go by region.

      The classic solution to this is “voluntary obsoletion”. Means, dont touch the POS. At all. Ever. Develop a parallel, much better system and make it available. Then slowly make the POSes even more painful, use more fuel, half the stront levels, make them hackable etc, tweaks. And the migration from POS to whatever new structure was developed will happen by the players.

      But yes, I would love to join you for the beers with the CCP employee. Maybe during fan fest, some lucky sodd gets the real story?

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