I have been reading quite a number of threads about instabookmarks the last couple of days, (and some that think I'm an idiot) and was going to reply to this one in the Feature and Ideas forum when I figured I'd do it as a blog. So many threads, so little time to follow them all so here comes a general reply to them all. And no, it doesn't contain "the one solution to rule them all". If we had it, it would already be implemented.
First, keep focusing on game mechanics which would replace to some extent the benefits of instabookmarks, not focus on them being removed altogether. Think of their functionality instead what they are.
To start with, lets look at what instas do for you as a player:
- You become close to invulnerable
- Your travel time decreases significantly
Both are very good for you as a player, but anything close to invulnerability will in the end ruin a game. Let's look at the drawbacks of instas:
- Other people using instas become close to invulnerable
- Other people using instas travel as fast as you
- Other people that don't have instas are dead meat
- If you do use instas and don't have instas to a certain location, you probably won't travel there because you know you will get killed
- Mobile warp disruptors can in many cases stop YOU and everyone else using instas, let alone the one that do not (and will probably stop you faster and easier after the next patch)
- New players who loose their first ship because they didn't have instas usually quit before they even learn what an insta is
- 100's of instas on the majority of characters are causing unnecessary server load in many scenarios (logon, switching systems, on use etc.)
Now, from my point of view, the far most important part of this equation is the near invulnerability during travel. I couldn't care less about travel time in comparison to having people running around close to invulnerable.
Nevertheless, it is a good thing to have options regarding ways to travel faster. Now, the solution to that does not necessarily lie within changes to instabookmarks, but lets not rule that out either. Keywords such as player owned gates, Interbus and other means of long distance travel at a cost of ISK or plain time can be considered but in many cases you are only solving the problem for a part of the playerbase.
So, this brings us down to the real question with instabookmarks, the one which we ask ourselves;
"How can we decrease the invulnerability factor while still keeping some amount of the travel time deacrease and safety of instabookmarks?"
Edit: Clarification is in order here, the question above aims to keep the travel time decrease (get somewhere faster) you get with instas.
From my point of view, I think it is acceptable to have the option of doing things in a safer and faster way as long as you sacrifice something else for it. Some will undoubtedly disagree :)
We're approaching the point where good instabookmarks are the determining factor of whether you live or die. That shouldn't be the case, just ask yourself this; "Should you be close to invulnerable just because you have those 20 bookmarks copied into your bookmarks folder?"
Notice, I say close to in regards of invulnerability. That's simply because there are cases where they don't make you invulnerable, such as a bad bookmark which doesn't always bring you into jump/dock range, sniper team or simply a mobile warp disruptor.
In general, you are traveling nearly invulnerable, just think of the cases where you have been travelling with instas. How many gates have you jumped and lived with an insta compared to how many gates you have jumped and died without an instabookmark?.
Since there are, of course, tons of other variables to this, lets not forget what the core is. Safe travel, or more correctly safer by choice while having drawbacks. Today there are no drawbacks to having instabookmarks, the drawback is not having any instabookmarks.
You can throw in a general hitpoint increase to ships which would increase the time needed to take you out at a gate, changing warp scrambling to the new Ewar model which decreases the efficiency of warp core stabilizers but still gives you a chance of escape - or the general increase of jumps into 0.0?
Remember, nothing has been decided yet and as stated in a dev chat, if and when we find something that answers our question we'll do it. In any case, those are some of our thoughts on instabookmarks, if you have the answer to the question above, "sound off like you've got a pair ..."