There's a second 2013 blog banter out (yes, I responded to the first one):
The local chat channel provides EVE players with an instant source of intel of who is in the system. With a quick glance you can tell who is in system and what your standings are to them. War targets, hated enemies, friends and corp mates all stand out clearly. Is this right? Should we have access to this intel for free with no work or effort? Should the Local chat channel even exist? Should normal space be more like wormhole space where the Local channel appears empty until someone speaks?OK, I like that one. That's an easy one.
A lot of people have varying opinions of "Local." Most of those criticisms revolve around the idea that Local is an intelligence tool in low-sec and null-sec: you can tell if a system is "safe" or not by who is in Local. For that reason, some small gang PvPers want Local abolished or delayed (you'd appear in Local 30 or 60 seconds after you actually entered the system). They want this so they can get ratter or miner ganks. For the same reason, large null-sec alliances and the like generally want Local to stay how it is. But other small-gangers and ultra-small-gangers agree with the large null-sec'ers: leave Local alone! The reason is fairly obvious: how is the ultra small-gang or solo PvPer to know that there are five smart-bombing battleships on the next gate without some warning? How is the five-man gang to know they're facing another five-man gang, and not the entire Goonswarm fleet?
Speaking as a small-gang PvPer: guys, it's hard enough for me to find targets in null-sec and low-sec as it is. It already takes an age to find a fleet to fight, see if the engagement terms are worthwhile, try to stage the engagement, and get the fight going. Trying to do this without Local would be a bit like the second day of the Battle of Midway: two fleets within a few hundred miles of each other but not able to find each other because of environmental conditions. Fleets would have to send out six or eight scouts to do the same thing that can be done today with one or two. Realistic? Sure. Fun? Hell no!
I remind you that this is a game. ;-)
By the same token, delaying Local just means slowing down roaming fleets as they wait for their scout to be able to provide good intel instead of bad intel. Same same.
Let me jump straight to the conclusion for you: Local is working, so let's not screw with it. Is it perfect? No. But it's a solution that's been working for nigh upon a decade now. Everyone understands it, everyone's clear on it, and those that want to try something different have the option of heading for W-space to do so, and more power to them.
So that's my basic answer. But let's say that I wanted to mess with Local. Let's say that CCP came up to me and said, "we're definitely going to change Local in one way, and you get to pick the way." If I were going to make one change to how Local operates?
I'd make the people that hold space pay for it. "CONCORD communications network operating fee," I'd call it, or something like that. Want Local in a system? That'll be some amount of ISK. And the more space you have, the more ISK you pay, on an exponential scale. I can tell you from experience that maintaining a communications network of a thousand nodes is a lot more than 100 times harder and 100 times more expensive than maintaining a communications network with ten nodes.
It'd create an interesting dynamic: some alliances would pay for Local in every system they own and continue to use it as an intelligence asset... but they'd pay through the nose for that privilege. Others would only pay for Local in critical systems, leaving gaps in their intelligence network that could be exploited by an enemy. And still others would go the w-space route. All in all, it might create an interesting dynamic.
But honestly, even this I think would over-complicate a system that's easy to understand and working. Let's let CCP concentrate on the things that are horrifyingly broken rather than the things that are not, shall we?