FAPT: Rogue Drone Faction Loot

Feature of the Arbitrary Period of Time is a look at an idea from the forums, good or bad, that I feel merits further exploration or derision. It’s arbitrary instead of weekly because I said so.

Our first entry here comes from… myself! Yeah yeah, give me a break – I’ve wanted to start this series for almost a week now, but have struggled to find an idea I felt was worth the time to write about. And yes, I know how arrogant that sounds; on with the post.

In my CSM candidacy thread (by the way, I’m running for CSM8, but odds are you’re one of my ten readers and you already knew that), I was asked by a former drone regions resident how I thought the space should be fixed and whether CCP is paying enough attention to them (the answer to the latter, by the way, is “no not really”). In my reply, I voiced my opinion that of all the issues CCP has yet to address on his list, faction loot is the hardest one to tackle. The problem has a lot to do with the laughably shallow pool of candidates for faction loot. There are five drone oriented modules in the game. All have officer variants now, but there’s only reason to use four of them (because who’s going to use an officer Drone Control Unit, really?) and worse yet, only faction Drone Damage Amplifiers would likely see any heavy use. Compare that to Guristas, who have (by my count) 37 regular items, plus a full range of officer and deadspace loot, plus faction ships.

By the way – infested ships, please.

So, part of the problem can be solved by making the faction drones not suck. Right now the best of them deal damage equal to Tech II (albeit split; an Augmented Hammerhead deals thermal primary, kinetic secondary, for example), with 10% higher velocity and an admittedly impressive 50% higher EHP. Now that’s not terrible, if the price were right. I could see using a flight of Augmented Warriors in my PvP ships if they cost, say, 1.5-2m isk apiece.

Unfortunately, they cost 55m. Each.

So that’s one problem. The faction drones cost too much and, frankly, are only barely worth it even if they were reasonably priced. So, rework them to drop the cost and give them a damage boost to bring them in line with the idea of faction ammo.

That’s the boring part of the idea though. Even if the drones were worth using, they are themselves still only the rough analogue to faction ammo, so the actual item pool remains far too shallow. Thinking about fixing that is where the fun began. The lightbulb moment was when it occurred to me that there is no good reason to limit Drone faction loot to drone items. After all, to quote myself, “thematically speaking, the rogue drones are a sentient AI with advanced computer technology that are constantly evolving by assimilation of whatever technology they come across, and thus are a hilarious hodgepodge mix of technology.”

Take it and run with it. Start with the things that don’t have any faction equivalent right now. Faction (and officer!) tractor beams and salvagers. Tell me with a straight face that those wouldn’t sell like hotcakes to carebears in Empire and I’ll tell you you’re a liar. Faction versions of the Inferno modules, like the ancillary reppers and boosters, the Micro Jump Drive, and anything else they add in the future (I hope they do continue to expand that theme, incidentally). Faction Warfare Links… with queens and hives and whatnot, wouldn’t it make sense that links based on or modified by drone tech would be even more effective?

Maybe save that last one for after (if) boosters are ever forced to stay on grid…

Anyway, if we still don’t have an adequately large enough pool of items at that point, so what? Expand into the existing faction item turf. “Hilarious hodgepodge of all kinds of random tech”, right? Just put a rogue drone spin on things. For example, a Stasis Webifier with considerably longer range, but a much lower web factor. A line of Cap Boosters with 200-300% normal capacity, but a 50% longer cycle time. A Power Diagnostic System optimized for capacitor recharge, or capacity, or shields, at the expense of the other stats. I’m just spitballing here – there are all kinds of ways CCP could run with the idea, and while they are not endless, they are (I think) rather interesting.

And that’s that. Next time I’ll use someone else’s idea, I promise. If you stumble across something you’d like commented on, shoot me a tweet at @mynnna_eve or evemail it to me and I’ll take a look!