Those pilots whom prefer to engage in activities for their respective factions or corporations through missions tend to miss out on the grandest spectacle in the galaxy; that of large scale fleet combat. Generally New Eden is at its most awe inspiring when two giant forces come together to engage in the wonderful art of combat to the death. The sight of many hundreds of ships, missiles, drones and battle detritus that makes up a battlefield is one to behold.
Battles are traditionally fought with two forces; the allies and the enemy, with hundreds of forces on either side. At present when a mission is undertaken the enemy forces vastly out number the allies, those pilots brave enough to enter the mission either solo or within a small fleet. I’d assume it to be rare for more than a score of pilots to be engaged in the same mission at the same time for the simple reason that the resident enemy forces would become hopelessly out-gunned, and the battle won within minutes. This may be desirable to many, granting the ability to grind many objectives an hour, but I feel that a grander spectacle of combat is lacking for those who choose to run missions.
There could be two forces; the enemy consisting of a carefully composed fleet of ships, and the allies also consisting of a balanced composition equal to that of the enemy. These allied NPC ‘wingmen’ would have their own objectives and would engage with the enemy forces according to predetermined targeting and behave intelligently, much like the indigenous w-space forces (sleepers) employ. Imagine the spectacle of entering a mission where your ship is one of many attacking the enemy to achieve a set of objectives. The two forces should be balanced so that, without a pilots’ intervention, the objectives would be missed and a stalemate between the forces would be the result. This would prevent a passive involvement on the pilots’ part necessitating active engagement to complete the mission.
Wormhole space is a fascinating discovery, employing a medium of live combat between pilots and NPC’s. It’s usual for a small fleet to engage the Sleepers in a similar manner as I’ve described, but with the threat of piracy and the real possibility of the loss of ones own life.
For those of you who want to experience truly immersive fleet engagements without the risk of losing ones own life, the option simply isn’t there, but perhaps that’s the price you pay and is the lure to fight for real.
Just a thought...