As readers may know, when I visit high security systems I like to use combat scanner probes to search for players, POSes, drones, and of course cosmic signatures. Sometimes, I happen upon inactive POSes with modules that can be destroyed, and I have a particular fondness for pillaging these vulnerable bases.
My routine goes like this:
I enter a new system, making some bookmarks while using combat scanner probes (scanning on the setting "show all"). A few close probe scans around celestial clusters reveals all of the starbases in system, from giant complexes like this beautiful but lag-inducing POS:
...to the dozens upon dozens of abandoned control towers in near every system.
A combat scan around a celestial offers a top-down picture of all of the POSes (et al.) around the planet:
A habit I've now taken to is bookmarking all active POSes I find. There's no reason not to, and when I pass through visited systems I briefly check the active POSes. This new method has helped me find a few POSes that have lapsed in upkeep, and sometimes find them before others do.
Well, as I've described in previous posts, this can be a fairly lucrative business, and I know of at least a few dozen players now that sometimes engage in the same type of search and destroy scanning. However, it has been quite a while since I found a decent haul from looting laboratories, assembly arrays, and hangars...until recently!
A nice 1.9 billion isk collection of minerals and research and PI materials, not a bad find at all.
However, my recent return to POS pillaging has me wondering what will come of this profession after the upcoming overhaul of structures in EVE. With the just released entosis module, POS "destruction" will no longer involve shooting (at least at the L and XL size structures, so far as we currently know from the early dev blogs). So, presumably, can we expect that inactive POSes will be even easier to remove? Currently there is little reason to destroy lone inactive towers because of the DPS needed (or inactive towers with guns and batteries, modules which cannot be destroyed or looted until after the tower is destroyed). However, after the structure rebalance, it seems like it will simply take (in HS) a war dec and then a few minutes (?) of entosis magic. Will this "Destroy" the structure, creating a killmail, or will this de-activate it and allow it to be scooped? We don't yet know. I would personally prefer the entosis link to destroy the structure itself, resulting in a killmail, with some plan for what loot can drop and what will be "stored" in some way for the owner (the structure dev blog features a lengthy discussion in the comments about what method of "storing" dropped loot for players should be taken. I don't have a preference.)
But what about active structures in HS? Currently, high security space POSes are very safe when active, even without guns, simply due to the time commitment involved in trying to destroy them. Plus, an active corp will immediately take the valuables out of the POS when a war is declared, making it a waste of isk for the attackers as well. What will happen after the structure rebalance, though? Here would be a bad outcome: A single player can declare war on Red Versus Blue, who owns many dozens of customs offices around high sec (these POCOs become some version of new structures after the overhaul, the dev blog states), and then travel all around HS putting all of RVB's POCOs into reinforce. That, it seems to me, would be a bad outcome. On the other hand, what I do think HS needs is more conflict-drivers. The introduction of player-owned customs offices in HS a few years ago was an amazing change, one of the best in the game's history, because it added an entirely new source of conflict in the game. HS (as well as all other areas of space, LS and NPC Null especially) need more sources of conflict. So ideally, the structure revamp will 1) create many new sources of conflict in New Eden, while 2) not giving the attacker too much of an advantage to the point that it is never safe to drop a structure in space. I don't know how to balance 1 and 2, but I am eager to see how CCP tries to do it, and I hope "POS Pillaging" will live on into the future.