I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. Ever since I wrote my post about a module that could cloak you from local chat. CCP Explorer replied that ideas concerning system intel should not rely on local as an intel source. The way we currently use local, it’s a direction CCP wants to move away from.
We’ve heard this before. Every Fanfest, every final weekend of the Alliance Tournament, CCP Soundwave trots out the idea of removing local as an intel source, similar to how local works for wormhole space. He’s been doing this for at least two years, maybe longer, but CCP has made not a single move in this direction.
Rhavas recently made a post, his 100th, about how to remove local as intel, and what additional components would need to be added to put intel gathering into the player’s domain. It’s a good post. He goes into a lot of detail. A crap tonne of new modules, new mechanics. The kit and kaboodle, plus some.
For my 500th post, I talk about how I think CCP can get rid of local. I approach this differently than Rhavas, though. I like to look for solutions within the game, by utilizing what already exists, and assuming that modifications to those existing frameworks would be less time intensive for CCP. (That may not be the case, but only CCP knows how modifiable and extensible their systems are.)
Local as Intel
Local chat would behave in lowsec and nullsec as it does in wormhole space. You do not appear, until you speak.
In highsec, local would continue to act as is. Call it the CONCORD rule, if you need a roleplay reason for this. CONCORD is all knowing and that information is available to everyone in highsec. It is the benefit and downside to living in highsec. You know everyone who in system with you, and everyone in system knows you’re there.
The Directional Scanner
With intel gone, we need a new source of discovering intel. I propose a large extension to directional scanning functionality.
First, allow us to create multiple d-scanning tabs. (CCP can limit this to five, as they do with the overview, if they wish.)
Second, each tab would have its own filter and scanning distance properties, similar to the overview tab filters, but the directional scanner is no longer tied to the active overview tab.
Third, the directional scanner would have to include all-new data fields. Character name. Character affiliation. Standings icons (similar to the icon column on the overview.) These new fields wouldn’t be available all the time, but in certain situations (see Active and Passive Pinging below.)
These filters can be imported and exported, so that alliances can create pre-made filters for their members.
Skill: Directional Scanning
A new skill called Directional Scanning would be available, available under the Electronics section. It should be an 8x skill (the best scouts should require an investment in time.)
Anyone can d-scan without the Directional Scanning skill, but their scans are limited to passive pinging only (see below), and a maximum distance of 10AU.
Every skill level of Directional Scanning increases the maximum scanning range by 5AU. So, someone with Direction Scanning V could scan up to 35AU distance. This, of course, means that CCP would need to find a solution to the 232 km d-scan limitation, something I’m sure they’re capable of accomplishing.
Active and Passive Pinging
If you do not have Directional Scanning trained, you are limited to only passive directional scanning.
Passive scanning allows you to scan without notifying any players that you are scanning. The information you receive is reduced, limited to ship name and type (the current functionality of d-scanning.)
Active scanning notifies players that they’ve been scanned (perhaps an active scanning appears above their HUD for six seconds, and maybe there’s a muted audio alert as well.) Active scanning gives an increased amount of information, ship name and type, as well as character name, character affiliation, and the standings icon. Potentially it could give information related to current crimewatch status (suspect flagging, etc.)
Every directional scanning tab has two buttons. One for passive scan and another for active scan. (Of course, the active scan button is unavailable to people who have Directional Scanning untrained.)
Active scanning does not always notify a player that they are being scanned. If the scanned player has a Directional Scanning skill at a lower rank than the player scanning, then they do not receive the active ping notification.
That’s about it for the idea. Granted, it is far simpler than Rhavas’ idea, but perhaps it’s more attractive to CCP due to it using existing game components, and having a lower development cost. As always, interested in reading your thoughts.
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse blog.