"Good News Monday" continues in EVE land with yet another devblog full of good news this Monday morning, this time about POSes.
Late last week, there was a drop-in in the latest video mentioning that POS fuel would be switching to a "fuel pellet", replacing the current eight POS fuels: five PI products, heavy water, liquid ozone, and a racial isotope. I opined that there would be a blueprint that would combine seven of these elements to create the fuel pellet. When you reached your POS, you'd add large numbers of these pellets, you'd add isotopes, and you'd be done. This turned out to be three-quarters right. The actual fuel pellet will require that the isotope be added as well, so there will be four racial fuel pellets instead of a standardized one.
And the fuel pellets will be fairly large at 50m3, making them fuel "blocks" instead.
For more than two years, until June of this year, I had a medium faction POS anchored in high-sec that I was using for blueprint research and copying/invention for T2 manufacturing. I chose a faction POS for this work because I knew the POS would be up for months, if not years, and the fuel savings that I would realize over this long term would make the purchase and use of the faction POS worth the extra ISK I would pay for it. Besides, I didn't really expect to lose the faction POS and figured that I could sell it when I was done with it (if I ever was).
As CCP's plans stand today, small POSs will consume one fuel block per hour, mediums will consume two, and larges will consume four. And faction POSs will not receive a fuel use benefit at all.
It would have been the simplest thing in the world for CCP to declare that the blueprint, instead of creating four fuel blocks, will instead create 40 smaller fuel pellets. Then it would have been equally simple for small POSs to consume 10 such pellets, mediums double that, and larges double that. Then, faction towers could retain their fuel use bonus, and the sov fuel bonus for 0.0 towers could also be easily retained. CCP Greyscale, in the devblog, says that this was considered but rejected "because dealing with small numbers of blocks makes starbases in general easier to use".
I feel the need to go back to a previous generation Internet meme to respond to this: "This is dumb and you are dumb." ;-)
We've been doing linear algebra to fuel POSs for years now, Greyscale. You're simplifying it down to 1+1=2, which is fine. But, I think we can handle putting 28,000 fuel pellets into our POS instead of 2800. ;-) Please make it so, and give the faction towers their fuel use bonus back. Lots of people like faction towers for this reason, and lots of wormhole residents like them for the reduced logistics need.
Still, in the grand scheme of things, this is a nit attached to a hugely positive change.
EDIT (8/Nov/2011): The suggested change above is being implemented.
There are two other changes in this devblog, both of which are also almost uniformly positive.
First, jump bridge passwords are going away. If you have a positive standing with the owner of a jump bridge POS, you'll be able to use the attached jump bridge. The most interesting thing about this change isn't so much that the passwords won't be necessary to use the jump bridges as it is that the passwords to all of these POSes will no longer be public. Typically, you have to make jump bridge POS passwords public so that your allies can use them. This leaves the interior of such POSes open to enemies and spies.
It's been a standard practice for years now when ambush hunting on an enemy's jump bridge that if you get into trouble, you can simply use their own password to slip inside their jump bridge POS shield to avoid destruction. This is a retarded strategy -- practically an exploit -- and it's all to the good that it's being relegated to the dustbin of history.
In a similar way, the number of supercap kills that Pandemic Legion can brag will be going down. They've practically made a business out of using an enemy's POS password to slip inside a jump bridge POS shield and bump out enemy supercaps.
The last change mentioned in the devblog is that most anchor/unanchor/online/offline timers are being greatly, greatly reduced. The reason for this is simple: setting up a new POS is a painful experience. Take my relatively simple medium faction research tower, for instance. I wanted to anchor defenses around it to make it clear to any POS-gankers that I would defend the tower if it were attacked. This resulted in roughly 50 or so modules that I had to anchor after the POS and its laboratories were up and running.
That turned anchoring the POS and its defenses into what was literally an all-evening project. Without an anchoring queue, all I could do was put something on TV, and glance back at the EVE screen every few minutes all evening anchoring modules, one by one by one by one. I can't even imagine what this would have been like in the old tower sov days. One medium tower was enough for me. ;-)
So, cutting these times to small fractions of their previous values is also hugely positive.
Why do guns and defenses still take two minutes to online? About a week ago, a Rote Kapelle scout detected someone setting up a large POS very close to our home system in Syndicate. This is not something we felt like taking lying down, so we immediately mobilized to remove this POS. Lacking sov, we didn't get immediate warning of the POS being anchored, so by the time we arrived, we found a large Amarr tower up and on-line, already surrounded by a fair number of guns and jammers. However, most of the guns and jammers were off-line. Inside the POS was an Anshar and a Thanatos, plus the pilots of both of these ships managing the anchoring of additional modules. We moved in, took out the Warp Disruption Batteries (which were online), then turned our attention to the other online modules.
The player inside responded by onlining additional mods, one by one. He then went into POS gunner mode to use his onlined modules against us. Fortunately, he couldn't online them quickly or all at once, or our small initial response fleet would have been overwhelmed. And once the immediate danger was past, I brought in a blockade runner carrying a pair of large mobile bubbles to prepare to lock his carrier and jump freighter in. Once he saw the first bubble launched, he anticipated my next move, reboarded his jump-capable ships, and evacuated the area in haste. ;-) That left the POS undefended and we finished the job of removing it.
So, don't expect weapons and defenses to receive an online buff for scenarios just like this one. Cyno-related modules are not getting their timers buffed by and large for similar reasons.
Finally, one last bit of very good news. In the comments thread associated with these very positive changes, several devs make it clear that these changes are interim changes while they finally take on the POS code itself with an eye toward a complete revamp. CCP's fast work this autumn aside, we shouldn't expect to see all-new POSes before next year -- probably late next year -- but it's nice that this work will finally, finally be started.