A remark from CCP Explorer on Twitter has seen a flurry of commentary on “fixing local”. Rhavas has a reasonable starting point with links to further reading:
The arguments are slowly getting more sophisticated, and I have previously read ideas that I have liked, and which would be worthwhile additions to the game.
However, cut though the fluff and carry on, and what is the main problem many of these people have with Local?
Be honest about it.
They think local makes it too easy for people to avoid PVP.
So the goal of many of the suggestions is to make PVP – if not easier, at least more likely.
The two main perceived issues with local are also remarked on as the benefits:
. It is too easy to gather intelligence
. If you are alert, you can use it to stay relatively safe
To my mind there are two additional benefits – it is available to everyone, and it can prompt interaction between players.
When I read suggestions on how to improve local, these are some of the questions I am asking:
. Is the concept simple and easy to understand?
. Will the mechanism be quick and straightforward to use?
. Will there be any variation through skills to train, ship hull bonuses, or modules that relate to ship, POS, Station or Sovereignty?
. Will it be influenced by the finesse and ability of the end user, such as is possible now with D-SCAN or Probe use?
. Over time, is it likely to increase, leave unchanged, or decrease the average population of impacted systems?
This last point is important. Make each system a nirvana for Pirates and you get, well, just Pirates.
Wormholes have no local. You are required to use D-Scan, Probes and caution. The danger of almost inevitable loss is offset by the possibility of greater riches, and the fact the pathways between systems are restricted and random.
Take local away from low sec, and it becomes less appealing to your standard hauling / trading / PVE / just taking a short cut / Miner target. Replace it with a mechanism which is annoying and too untrustworthy to use, and people stop playing in those areas.
I am not against changing local – I just want it to enhance the game. I figured I should throw out an example – this is just off the top of my head and I haven’t thought it through.
No local – but two new high slotted modules.
The first is Passive Radar.
It has a range of 15AU, plus 5AU per rank in a skill.
It updates a small overview map every 10 seconds, minus 1 second per rank in a skill.
It shows planets, moons, POS, stations and uncloaked ships. You can’t warp to the POS or ships, it just show approximate location.
The ship details get more refined per rank in a skill – so rank 1 it just shows a blip for a single or group of ships, rank 2 might show the number of ships, rank 3 small, medium or large, rank 4 might be frigate, destroyer, cruiser etc, rank 5 might be the specific hull type – Corax, Coercer, Sabre etc
You can turn this into an active radar – it updates more frequently, but it uses cap and your signature is blown out.
The second is a Sonar.
Similar in function and skill impact to the Radar, but it provides much less range and detail, but includes cloaked ships. It also blows out your signature.
Maybe make it possible for one ship to feed this inforation to others within its fleet – or possible a POS or Sovereignty module which might do the same.
There seem to be some interesting concepts in that – but rather obviously I doubt it would work from a lag point of view, particularly with large numbers of ships in system (maybe it summaries details once gangs get greater than 20 hulls). Many pilots may simply not have the screen real estate to have an extra window open like that all the time. I’m not championing this – I am just trying to think of something that might make losing local seem worthwhile.
But – and I harp on this over and over again, if you really want more targets to fall under your guns – then focus on measures to increase the number of them wanting to risk fly around in your space. Do you really think removing local will do that?