When I was interrupted by the events of this past week, I was in the midst of my twice-a-year commentary on features that I like (and eventually, don't like) about the upcoming expansion, Rubicon in this case. So let's get back to that with another feature that I really like, "ghost sites". Here's the appropriate dev-blog about it, written by CCP Affinity.
I am such a big fan of this concept. It combines everything that I like about well-done PvE and everything that I like about EVE's current hacking mechanic, tosses out a lot of the stuff that I don't like, and throws in a few well-designed wrinkles. In terms of well-done PvE, these sites are rare, high-value, and engaging, and the highest value ones (in null-sec and w-space) are quite high-risk as well! They'll be visible on anyone's scan through the system and that combined with the greater interceptor speeds means that you'll literally be taking your ship's life into your hands every time you warp into one of these, both from internal and external threats.
I do enjoy EVE's hacking game; my objection to it has been the "lootsplosion" which for older gamers like myself is a ticket to RSI. The ghost sites eliminate that: if you successfully hack the site, you get the loot. I like that. But if you're unsuccessful, the can explodes to quite good effect, particularly against the fragile (and fast) ships that have been traditional to use in hacking sites. This is likely going to cause players to take more substantial ships into these sites. More substantial ships are of course easier to tackle. I like that, too.
The bit I find the most entertaining about the ghost sites is their huge troll value. If you encounter a player in one of these things and you don't care about the loot yourself, you can drive up to one of the hacking sites, activate it, then immediately close it. That will cause the can to explode perhaps doing a good deal of damage to the person trying to run the site -- even in high-sec, hee! -- and serving as a lovely prelude to killing them. Alternately, you can hang out nearby in a cloaky attack ship of your own and wait for one of two things to happen: failure (and the explosion), or success (at which point you can decloak, tackle them, and take their hard-earned loot).
Either way, I think the game design here is a winner. These are one of the first examples of EVE PvE that both can be done solo for good reward, are engaging while you're doing it (particularly due to the "beat the clock" factor), include a high degree of both internal and external risk, and stay true to EVE's roots all the while.
So as I've already said, call me a big fan of this one! More like this, please.