TBH i would be very surprised if noone had this idea till now, but i'm posting it anyway.
Missions as we know them now have their fair share of problems. They are repetitive, predictable, easy to macro and most of all boring
. I used to do them for isk, now i just do them for standings, but i have never done them to have fun playing EVE. It kept me thinking and i got an idea that might improve at least three of the named problems (i'm sure there will always be botters
So how is it looking right now: I'm using combat missions as example
All combat missions are for most cases pretty much the same (not in order):
(destroy a specific object)* + (retrieve a specific item)? + (go to specific area)? + (kill all enemies you encounter)* + (wait for something to happen)*
No thinking required whatsoever.
I don't get why you even bother writing stories for them. Noone cares anyway. I didn't even bother to read them when i started playing x years ago.
So my suggestion: Make them generic and randomized
. Make them modular
, like you did with the NPC AI. If you add enough parameters (location designs, objectives, triggers, bonus objectives, etc.) you can have a huge amount of missions, that still can be grinded if the rewards are worth it, but they are much more unpredictable
Let's say you accept a lvl2 mission. you can be sure that it will have a certain difficulty (as: i can do this in my cruiser) and minimum reward, but that's it
. No more information. Not even a mission name that you can look up for strategies. The agent might send you to wipe out an angel facility but you will have no way of knowing how big that facility actually is and what's there to find. Maybe there will be no webbing frigs, maybe 10 of them. Maybe there will be a tough BC there or a bunch of turret batteries. Maybe the biggest ship warps off and you get a new bonus objective to chase him (on the higher levels maybe even probe him). The reward for that could be extra isk or lp or a nice item. Maybe there are hackable cans flying around which may triger bonus objectives or contain extra rewards.
LP gain could be dynamic too, depending on which objectives the player completes and which he doesn't.
The length of the missions might vary too. Sometimes you may get small ones with less reward, sometimes they may take longer, but pay off more. Just make sure they really are as unpredictable as possible. Having 2-3 possible "paths" in a mission will only lead to people writing down each one of them and that's what we got now already.
Just an idea
You could even keep the old missions and rework them to storyline missions. That way the term "storyline" would makee sense for the first time and it would really be a different experience for the player compared to the standard mission.
So what do you think? Stupid dream of mine or does it have potential?