Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ship Crews - Officers?

Before we start lets just make this clear. The vast majority of ships we fly in Eve do have crews, they can number in the thousands and in the lore they can influence how a ship performs. Read here for an example where a pissed off crew member sabotages a capsuleers battleship as he's ratting (presumably he hates carebears and was sick and tired of the level 4 mission grinding and just wanted to end it all!).

A couple of weeks ago I mused about the NeX store and what else it could offer (just before CCP told us ship skins were on the way!). At that time I was thinking fireworks, whilst Mat Westthorpe aka Siesmic Stan suggested another idea - Officers.

Many bloggers have suggested having customisable crews for your ships over the years. Basically they could work like rig slots and enhance performance of the ship and its systems. They could also bring a new element to the ecconomic side of the game. Hiring and firing crew could be srs bizniz. Saving stranded crew from wrecks could give a purpose to those new Star Wars shi... I mean Sisters of Eve ships we've got access to now. Loot the wreck, salvage the wreck scoop up the escape pods and rescue crew members! It all should be optional, they should work like implants, boosters or rigs. You don't have to have them if you don't want to.

So taking Mat's idea forward, what could we have?

Well all ships should come with a standard crew (as they do now). However, at the NeX store you can buy (hire) officers. These can be placed into the slots on a ship like modules and moved around between ships. They can also be sold on the open market. No real difference in P-T-W than buying Plex, selling on the market and then buying boosters or implant sets. Perhaps they have a timer? Last 12 weeks like insurance and then they bugger off?

Officers could come in three flavours - Fresh of the Academy, Experienced and Veteran. Each being progressively more expensive but giving better bonuses. A few ideas for the slots:-

Weapons Officer - "Fire all the things!"

Caldari - Orders his 'special sauce' to be loaded into the missile fuel tanks - 3%/5%/8% increased flight speed for missiles.
Gallente - Has a very expensive monocle, even more expensive than Japanese designer jeans, for increased targetting - 3%/5%/8% improved falloff for hybrid weapons.
Amarr - Has a barbed whip for encouraging the slaves turning the wheel to do it faster - 1%/2%/3% increased tracking for energy turrets.
Minmatar - Passes a few bottles of beer to the gunnary crew, its like pool, you always shoot better after a couple of cold ones - 3%/5%/8% improved optimal range for projectile weapons.

Chief Engineer - "I canny do eet Captain. I dooont have the poo-er!"

Caldari - 'Set an intercept course!' (or for Caldari Militia ships "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!") = 1%/3%/5% bonus to warp speed
Gallente - 'Fly me closer, I want to hit them with my blasters!' = 1%/3%/5% bonus to MWD speed
Amarr - 'At least leave us some juice to fire the damn guns!' = -5%/-10%/-15% capacitor need for AB
Minmatar - 'Talwars! Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!' = -3%/-5%/-10% to MWD sig radius debuff

Chief Mechanic - "Shiny!"

Caldari - Can use a lump hammer to make a bit more space in your missile tubes = 1/2/3 additional missiles per reload.
Gallente - Has a bit of spare plating laying around which he can weld to your drones = 5%/10%/15% extra drone HP.
Minmatar - Uses ice-packs from the beer cooler in engineering to cool hot modules = 3%/5%/10% reduction to heat damage from overloading.
Amarr - Diverts power from life support, you don't really need those crew on deck 4 really, they are mostly slaves = 1%/3%/5% increase in capacitor capacity.

Tactical Officer - "Shields are down Captain!"

Caldari - Divert power to shields! = 1%/3%/5% increase in shield HP
Gallente - Weld faster! Weld Faster!!! = 1%/3%/5% increase in armour repair amount
Minmatar - Has a massive roll of duct tape for plugging holes in your ship = 3%/6%/10% increase in structure HP (real men hull tank btw!)
Amarr - Increases the ships armour through the power of prayer = 1%/3%/5% increase in armour HP 

Executive Officer - "I'll grow a beard, that will make me look more like a Commander."

The XO is the most expensive officer and does nothing on his own. But he increases the boost of any same-race officers below him. So you need to think about your officers. Mix and matching different races means you can pick which boosts you want. But if you take five the same, you're XO will mean they are a lot more effective.

Now what if some pirate ships dropped rare 'Hero' officers. Very rare and gave an even better boost? May be even split bonuses between the races as they do with the ships? For example a Blood Raider hero officer could give the same bonus as the Amarrian and the Matari officers but 50% of each. So a Blood Raider Tactical Officer could give 5% structure and 2.5% armour HP bonuses.

A lot of ways this could be done. However, is this an extra string to Eve's bow, or is it heading down the dreaded P-T-W path?


  1. PTW-ish

    Make them (in a way) like boosters. Not NeX purchases, but can be produced on planets as a PI product from Academies.

    A possibility is that the bonuses start small, but increase to a maximum over time, so long as your pod remains with that ship. As soon as you swap ships, the benefits reset. Also, the effects on your ship will depend on maintaining a certain ratio with your crew size. Crew is 10x bigger, need 10x officers to get same bonus.

    Officer bonuses not available to capital ships.

    Officer drops decay from the instant they drop, to zero left after 20 minutes. SOE ships get bonuses to 'rescue' drone capacity (# of officers salvaged)

  2. Don't forget about the livestock from pi to feed them on ships in wormholes, supers and titans, they're officers after all so can't be expected to eat recycled poop like the rest of the crew ]; )

    The officers would also know better and only sign a contract for a set amount of weeks with a poder and retire at the end, if they survive! Contract timer could start when you 'unpack' them. Like crystals they couldn't be repackaged.
    If in space and timer is up another would auto unpack and be fitted from cargo, but if there are none they maybe a % penalty for what they did as the crew loses motivation watching the officer leave in an escape pod lasting 15mins

  3. Should you have to pay more for crew/officers if you've lost 3 ships in the past hour? :)

    I think as long as you can buy it with ISK on the market it won't be any more PTW than we have now. When I undock I may go into a "1:1" with someone who has all sorts of things I don't have: a shiny ship, pirate implants, combat drugs, a booster alt in system, etc. That's the reality we have now - why not throw in crew.

    Now as consolation I'd like all those things to show on the killmail. Perhaps putting an annotation that a victim was using a booster (drug or links) could also be a first step along with including the same on the killer side (including logi).

    Then us lowly types could exult appropriately when we kill a "solo" l33tpvper who has all of those things - even if it takes us a small fleet worth of ships to kill him.

  4. Blogspot lost my post so let's see if this is going to be a dupe.

    I don't think crew/officers will be anymore PTW than we have now as long as they can be bought on the market and they are destroyed/dropped with the ship. Right now a lowly poor pilot can undock in a T1-fit, T1-hull ship all by their lonesome and enter combat with an opponent in a shiny-fit, T2-hull ship using pirate implants, booster drugs and a link alt. Has the guy with all those things already gone Pay To Win?

    I'd just like to see all those things on the killmail/lossmail. Then we'd know (at least to some degree) how much it really was a "good fight."

  5. way too PTWish - thats a slippery slope and I hope that it never happens through the NEX store. Great idea otherwise.

  6. Love the idea of capsuleers suddenly "encouraged" to care about their crews. Let's extend it with some sort of reputation modifier. Fail to recover escape pods and your rep takes a hit. You find it tougher and/or more expensive to adopt pirates or other NPCs. Your faction and standings can affect the cost. Let crewmembers mature (bestowing increasing bonuses) as your ships don't explode, or transfer them between vessels (with days' delay to build pretend loyalty and prevent utter min-maxing) to gather elites where they are needed.