Fighting a case of really nice weather here after a pretty crummy February. It's pretty hard for me to stay focused on the PC when the sun is out and the birds are chirping and it's finally warm enough to venture outside minus the parka. What a difference a few days make - not awful long ago I was layered up in my Carhartt's plowing snow.
As I mentioned, I have given a little bit of thought to what I would change if I could fix one thing in PVE. Fanfest is around the corner, so I'll publish this (no doubt will be way off the mark) and see what unfolds.
Here's my wish: I'd gut the lvl4 system and chuck it in the bin. Then I'd burn its corpse and dance on the ashes.
That's probably an odd thing to say for someone who's basically a mission runner full time.
I think the game DOES need an agent mission system. I think it's vital, actually.
I do want a little more depth, and maybe agents that force you to move around a bit. On the other hand, I do not want "quests" in the way that the SOE arc and the old COSMOS system sent you on.
My replacement system would be a dial-a-difficulty dynamic agent provider.
Example: If I want to do Battleship Combat, I click on the agent, ask for work. Agent sees that I have a tech2 equipped Golem active and generates two missions for me to choose from - Silence the Informant and Worlds Collide. I choose one and run. (Said another way: No real change to current lvl4 mechanics for those that like humping around in Golems and Tengus and saving the Damsel)
Example: If I want to do Frigate Combat, I click on the agent, ask for work. Agent sees that I'm in a Kestrel with low meta modules. Agent generates a few starter missions with appropriate difficulty and payout.
Example: I pimp out a tech1 cruiser, and decide I want a challenge. I ask the agent for 'hard' work and it kicks me over to expert mode and tries to kick my ass.
Example: If I want to run a courier mission, I fit a Bestower and click on the agent, ask for work. Agent sees that I have the Bestower and offers a reasonably large-cargo courier. I could, however, ask for Courier work in my Crow and get a smaller cargo haul of perhaps more hops.
At the core of this system would be a parametric encounter generator that would generate the enemy ships and triggers somewhat randomly. I say 'somewhat' because the same encounter accepted as a Maller would by necessity be scaled down from the version I would accept in a Bhaal. And likewise if I continue to run with the Maller, repeat visits to save the Damsel would result in a slightly different kill list, spawn points/distances, mix of target types and sizes, and perhaps a chance at a few named guys.
I don't claim that this would eliminate the grindy grind that missions are. No way that's possible. But by fostering a system where more ships are more viable in PVE, we can at least open the flood gates to new fits, new metas, rewarding risktakers doing expert mode missions, and the ability to fly a ship because it looks cool and not because "it's the best."