Friday, January 17, 2014

Vending Machines

This was an idea I came across (I honestly can’t tell you where) some time ago, that I thought was so good I had to pass it along.

If you live in wormholes, you live out of a POS.  All your ships are based in a ship maintenance array, all your loot, ammo, extra modules, and supplies are stored in a corporate hangar array.  You need to routinely bring in fuel to power it, to the tune of 250 million isk or so a month (for a medium).

You don’t have a repair service handy, so any heat damage on your modules must be repaired by fitting them to a ship and using nanite repair paste.  Hull and armor damage need to be repaired with active modules, either on your own ship or remote modules on a corp mate’s ship.

In case you forgot to buy one during your last trip to empire, you can ask in corp chat, but other than that, you’re out of luck.  After all, there is no market, or ability to offer contracts, unless you have a station nearby.  Which, in wormhole space, you don’t.

It truly is the wild frontier.  And in living there for even a week, you start to think about what supplies and services you use on a regular basis.  You need to become a bit of a supply manager, and WH space is a great training ground if you ever wanted to become a supply trader at null-sec deployment systems (grab a jump freighter, buy a ton of supplies, and sell them for profit when Goonswarm, N3, or the Russians deploy to that system).

On any wild frontiers in the past on Earth, you’d find your usual distribution of rough frontiersmen, as well as bandits who preyed on them.  Justice was more dependent upon popular consensus than any law and order.  You had your share of entertainers eager to make some quick coin on the backs of those who were settling the area.  But there was one group of people who make the whole operation run effectively.

The traders.

But wormhole space doesn’t really have traders, not in the traditional sense.  Sure, you have members of your corp who horde goods and will happily drop them in a can for you if you reimburse them the cost.  But that only works when they’re online.

I’d love for CCP to implement some sort of vending machine, a deployable structure that could be deployed anywhere.  It’d allow you to set buy and sell orders, just like the market.  But, it’d be destructible, with loot drops, albeit at a lower rate than usual given the sheer quantity of goods that would be inside them.

I can see two applications for this type of deployable.  The first would offer a way for traders to do their business in hostile space.  Right now, the only way third parties can trade is to have docking access to a local station.  But, alliances are hesitant to allow neutrals into their station – they currently have no means of ejecting unwanted guests, so letting someone in once may mean they never leave.  Alliances could allow neutrals to bring in supplies without offering them the right to dock.  Should those neutrals start engaging in market PvP, the alliance could simply pop their vending machine.

The second application would be in wormhole space, of course.  Corporations could pool their resources and time, making it easier for a corporation to manage all its resupply needs.  And it would create another target to encourage attacks on other groups’ wormholes.  Through every wormhole could be a vending machine just waiting for someone to pop it.

Null alliances tend to ignore “unknown space” wormholes in their territory, simply because wormhole exploration is scary for anyone unfamiliar with it.  And wormhole corps definitely have a home field advantage in knowing the chain surrounding their home hole.  A possible loot piñata is a good incentive for wormhole exploration.

Obviously, these vending machines would need to have plenty of hp, so only a serious effort would crack it (keep in mind, by serious effort, I mean a serious effort for typical wormhole corps, not null-sec 256-man fleets).  Let them be anchored near a POS for added protection.

But I think it’d both fulfill a definite need and generate some PvP opportunities.  And that’s not a bad day’s work for a single change.



    'A vending machine that allows you to sell mining laser crystals to random people in a belt'

    Might have been the seed of the idea.

    1. I don't read the eve-o forums often, but one of my corp mates may have read that post.

  2. I see a few fundamental issues with your initial goal. 1) Yes, loot pinata. 2) nobody would drop one outside a POS in a random wormhole, and items can be contracted to a courier and dropped into POSs, if you trust the players, albeit you need to do it slightly differently. If you use it anywhere else, its basically a way worse option than a station for no real reason. 3) When you have to BUY the ability to make ISK back, it really makes more sense to NOT log off with your investment just floating around in god knows where. While it would have a USE (I lived in a WH, I see how this would work well) Our corp used a token system to reward freighters coming in and had enough players by the time it owned a WH that somebody usually had roles to fit everything into place. Idle buy contracts would be set up for extremely weird items placed in depot when contract was issues. Hauler swaps loot for token (trust granted) and redeems the token back in a highsec station for their money. If they died with the token for some reason, the money could just be paid out.

    1. Actually this could work. Give it a reinforce timer and the ability to scoop it whenever the owner wants, just like mobile depot. So long as there was a way for the market window to let you know when you were buying an item from a vending machine then it'd work great.

  3. And I'm gonna park a dread on it and blap it to shred in once stront cycle.

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