In order to redefine local chat, we must first decide what it was intended to be in the first place. I myself see it as a type of watered down in system radar if you will, since our ships don’t have the typical radar system you would think of from modern day planes.
I have read several posts about how local is broken, and that it needs to be fixed. I agree to some degree that local doesn’t work the way it should, well at least in the way it should if it were indeed a type of radar. In some of the posts, they mention transponders, air traffic controllers, and how things work in the real world. I understand what they were getting at, and believe that there would be a way that would make local work differently, and more in line with these ideas.
“Transponders” are already in place and working, as I see it, these are the icons that let you know who is hostile and friendly out there. The ability to see everyone in the system is where we have our issues, since it creates some advantages that would not normally be there, as well as some disadvantages too. The advantages are that you are able to see everyone that is in the system when they enter even if there cloaked, or docked up in a station. This disadvantage is that you can see them, but have no clue where they are.
In High Sec, Concord would have the infrastructure in place to allow local to work the way it does now, with the ability to network transponder, and radar type systems throughout the whole system. Three major differences could be added though the ability to cloak would mean not being seen in local, When docked at a station you would drop from local, and also the ability to warp to someone in local since if you show up on local then we should have some idea where you are. I know this probably wouldn’t be popular, and I’m not really looking at this from that stand point, just from a logical one. It would however create some interesting new confrontations in High Sec.
In Low Sec, Concord is slowly losing some control over what kind of network they can run and maintain. Transponder information is still available, but their radar type systems are starting to degrade. Here you could have spotty Local, stations could maintain a certain radius that would show up in local, maybe 500 km – 2500 km radius that when you are in station, or in that stations radar radius you would see those in local. If you are docked up in station you can see who’s in that stations radar radius in local, but people in space would not see anyone that would be docked in station on their local. People that you see in local can be warped to. The ability to be able to see people in local will shift to a new mid slot module that will be explained later.
In Null Sec, Concord has no networking for radar type systems. They do however have built in transponder codes in the system jump gates that track all ship transponders in the systems. This will allow players, when they can see you in local, to identify you. The ability to see anything in local will now shift to SOV structures, Alliance Owned Stations, Player Owned Stations, and Ship Fittings. SOV structures such as TCU’s, and I-Hubs would have modules that could be installed to give Alliance members and other people set blue to that alliance a bonus to their radar radius around their ships within that system. Alliance Owned Stations could have a module installed that would expand the radar radius around that station that would allow Alliance members and people set blue to that alliance to see others within that radius in local. Player Owned Stations could have a module that could be set up to expand their stations radar radius, much like is done with a gun or warp disruptor, and would have to be anchored outside of the POS shields. Ship Fitting modules to expand a radar radius around your ship, there would be several types of modules that would give you a bonus to your base radar radius of your ship, with the common diminishing returns, and the bigger the bonus, the more power grid, and cpu it would eat up. Null Sec would change, and we would see new ship fitting types as the need for ships that took on the role of eye in the system would be born. Stealth would take on a bigger role, and there would also be the need for hunters to kill these new ships.
A new ship statistic would be born, as all ships would have to have some sort of a base radar radius that they could see out to, with the bigger ship hulls having a larger radius. The ability to gang link your new “eye” ship would be nice as well. Imagine being in a fleet with a gang linked “eye” ship that would give your fleet the ability to see what they can see in local, and warp to them as well, this would change fleet fighting. Of course the “eye” ship would be primary, as when it is destroyed you would lose all information that was being relayed to the fleet, making it blind.
I would like to also see a new missile that would be for hunting stealthy ships. Keeping these to standard missile launchers, and light missiles would keep T1 & T2 frigates viable for this role. The new missile would do minimal damage, and fire straight in front of the ship to a predetermined distance before exploding. Sort of like a depth charge in space. When it exploded, it would have around a 5,000 k explosion radius, and any stealthy ship caught would lose its cloak.
I would also like to see a new module, or ship that would help in the hunting of stealthy ships, something along the lines of a ship, or module that could actively search out a cloaked ship with an active radar “ping”, but I think that would be too hard to code into the game.
I think if there was an easy way of implementing these ideas, it would make for a more interesting experience as you move to low sec, or null sec. The new system would change the tactics of Alliances with the need for dedicated intelligence for systems. It would also pump some adrenaline in to more of the actions taken in these areas.