EVE Online

Followup to the Wise Words of Hy Wanto

Citadels. They're a pain point. But HOW did we get here, WHY did we get here, and WHERE do we go from here?

Part 1: History

Citadels emerged as the next iteration in player built and owned living. They were designed to replace 2 sets of structure: The first was player-built stations, and the second was player-owned structures (or as they are more commonly known, POS Towers). These two sets of structures provided a wide range of services, defensive tools, and more to players, and Citadels ambitiously aimed to do all of those things and more.

Stations were structures that once anchored could not be destroyed, and acted in a similar fashion to NPC stations. You could dock in them, live in them, install jump and death clones, and do all manner of industrial activities. They provided the ideal choice as a staging location for an alliance due to this convenience and because of the personal and corporation hangars which allowed people to store their possessions. In the worst possible outcome of a player losing access to the station due to war or other factors, not all was lost- they could still sell their assets at a reduced price to opportunistic current residents, or use a spy or courier to get the assets out.

POS Towers were structures that could be destroyed, and the process for doing so was relatively simple. Shoot the hitpoint pool, a single reinforce timer if strontium was in the fuel bay, then finish the job. They had a number of benefits that were tied primarily to money-making: They were the tool for harvesting moon goo, they provided a safe spot to ratters, and they were required for super-capital production. They also had more defensive tools than stations, including damage, EWAR, and other modules that could be anchored outside the POS tower.

Part 2: Merging the Features

Citadels needed to do a lot of things. In order to replace staging structures, citadels were given multiple timers to guarantee defenders would have a chance to hold their home. In order to prevent a simple headshot attempt, they were given damage caps so that again, defenders would have a chance to defend their home. In case of the citadel's destruction, asset safety was implemented to provide feature parity to the old options of recovering part of your asset's value.

In order to replace industrial parts of the process, additional lines of citadels were added which provided industrial tools, and mining in the form of moon drills.

In order to provide supercapital ships, capital ships, and ratters with the safe haven that POS tower shields and services provided, citadels were given the tether mechanic, and Keepstars replaced the XL Ship Maintenance Array by allowing supercapitals to dock. Citadels were given module slots in which weaponry, EWAR, and other defensive tools could be placed.

Because of the need for certain things to exist in order for feature parity to be covered, Citadels ended up with the best of both worlds and the drawbacks of neither.

Part 3: Asking the Right Questions

A lot of complaints about citadels eat at one side of this question, or the other side, without addressing the gap between the two sets of features. Complaints about asset safety often look at the problem from the POS Tower side, and wonder why the astrahuses and athanors that were spammed across the galaxy don't generate more rewards for their destruction, while ignoring the importance of the feature on staging citadels. Complaints about the increased cost of anchoring staging citadels (see: citadel cores) for new or smaller groups of players often ignore the lack of value for attacking extraneous structures that are over-extensions… which is the exact opposite of the previous complaint!

There's nothing inherently wrong with staging citadels being powerful- it enables more groups to exist in areas, either generating or being content. There's also nothing wrong with the smaller, more numerous infrastructure pieces having few defensive advantages, because it enables evenly matched groups to fight back and forth over objectives.

The right question, then, is this: How do we separate back out the critical infrastructure (staging citadels, large industrial complexes) from the money-making infrastructure (tether astrahuses, athanors, small production facilities)?

Part 4: What do we aim for?

This part is much more of a personal opinion. In an ideal world, I want staging citadels to be somewhat expensive, powerful, and relatively unrewarding to destroy. To kick someone out of an area for good you need to really put in some serious effort.

When people are looking for easy-to-generate content and balanced fights they should be targeting the money-makers, the moons and mobility networks and the like. These structures should be relatively easy to destroy, but ALSO relatively easy to replace, so that a poor timer or an off day isn't the end of the world. POS Towers were easier to destroy, but they were also very cheap to make, and so back-and-forth over something like an R64 moon was less about the structure itself and more about the income it represented and the actual ship assets committed to fight over it.

All of the recent changes to citadels have failed at getting towards this split by applying to all citadels. The abandonment change can lose you asset safety on a former staging, so you can't ever sell a former staging without risking losing all the assets of anyone who lived there with you and didn't move. Citadel cores made everything more expensive. Timer changes affected all citadels. Etc, Etc.

Until the split in structure-types is re-realized, balancing citadels will be a pain in the ass.

TL:DR- Citadels tried to replace two very disparate groups of structures. Until citadels are broken up into two different groups again, balancing them will be very, very difficult because the two disparate groups of structures need different strengths and different weaknesses in order to build a good ecosystem for PvE and PvP.

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