So there is a lot of discussion and whining about off grid boosting at the moment, from all sorts of people, I've heard various reasons why people are complaining, they all complain about how it's unfair, and people should have all their cards on the table and ships on the grid. There is a divide between the have's and the have not's as always, people will always use the mechanics in their favour if possible.
I have a boosting in that I use when I'm flying about, both in gangs and sometimes solo. She usually flies a loki, and acts as a forward scout, probing and finding me targets within lowsec, then providing boosts, whilst we often take on much larger gangs.
With that you might think instantly I'm biased towards keeping them off grid, and to some extent I am. I like my alt's anonymous background, the fact that people don't instantly warp off and dock in station when she slips into system. Putting her on display would soon hurt my hunting grounds.
I hear people saying that it will level the playing field, means that everyone can see what ships are running links, and gives you the ability to shoot at their "links" that it forces link ships on grid and into danger, that it prevents AFK boosting from safely within a POS forcefield.
Actually implementing it would require significant changes to the mechanics, Grid Fu - google it, grids are too easy to exploit to make this a "simple" thing to implement. This also benefits the defending group, or encamped group, who have time to set up and wait.
Lag/TiDi mechanics. With any large fleet engagement you accept a level of LAG and now TiDi, by forcing the bonus ship to be on grid it's also subject to the same mechanics. This is massively in favour of the defending group, who's links are already on grid, and the bonus has propagated throughout the fleet already. When you as the attacking grid warp in, you can often take 10-20 seconds to load the grid, before you can even activate modules, and as your bonus ship will have to warp in, load grid, cycle mods, then wait as the bonus takes a few seconds to register... In TiDi situations we have already noticed that squad commanders not being on grid first can effectively break links for their squad members for some time even after everyone has finally loaded grid and started to fight.
Gate Camps, such and such a group have a POS in system with a bonus alt, it's not fair!
So? All they will do is move the bonus alt on grid and cloak it, with a little GridFu you'll still not get much of a chance to tackle it when you jump in, and it decloaks at 300km away alligned to station.
Rorqual, whilst I don't own one I know a few people that use them to providing mining boosts, now as that ship needs to be in deployed mode, I'm pretty sure they won't be going into "siege" mode in an asteroid belt any time soon.
Medium gangs 20-50 Any organised fleet type, ie AHAX, Snipers, Nano will have their booster clearly on display, but with logistics ships and a significant tank, the chance of actually killing the boosting ship just because you can see it is still minimal. Oh look there's a Damnation in the middle of that Armour gang, lets shoot it.... has anyone actually tried shooting a tanked one? It's a spacebrick, you can easily have 400k EHP without slaves implants or any faction mods. With 85% as it's lowest resist good luck killing that before the last logistics ship dies. You'd struggle killing my current Loki anyway as it's fitted with a 100mn Afterburner, making it at least as difficult as a 100mn Tengu to catch and kill, and from what I've heard they're giving it's midslots back too!
Small gangs and "solo" pilots these are the people that this nerf will hurt quite alot, smaller groups who specialise in taking on larger gangs. Yes I accept that "solo" pilots often use links to gain an advantage over other ships, but what exactly are we arguing about? If my "alt" decloaks at 100km in a "solo" fight whilst I kill you with my now link boosted main are you really going to gain any advantage? I'm still going to kill you. The only difference is you now get to see who my scout was.
Links are an advantage, but an expensive one, they cost an extra account, that's 500m per month, a Tech 3 cruiser fitted is going to set you back at least 500m, and they need considerable training already to even give out bonuses at least 4 months, realistically much more.
So when my 2.5b slasher and loki combo kills your 6m cruiser are you really that surprised? Would you prefer I just used a Falcon or even Blackbird alt, with less training, and less investment? I hate that mechanic, but many people do exactly that! Or I could just bring two combat ships, a nice Rapier could do 90% of what the loki does, but will actually effect your ship as well 90% webs from 40km away, whilst my main shoots you... do you feel better about dying yet?
I accept that there is some issues with boosting in its current mechanics, the T3 cruisers being better than the T2 Battlecruisers at boosting seems wrong even to me, fleet command ships being basically useless these days being out classed by the Tech3 cruisers at the same job.
I don't really mind about AFK pos boosters, they are not the worst of issues, they are limited to boosting in one system, and most active PVP pilots like to roam about anyway.
I've seen and read a few ideas, the ones I support are:
Limit POS boosting - should be easy to implement, you can't lock a ship inside a POS so stopping the modules running inside would be relatively easy database tweak.
Make Command links increase your signature in the same way that a MWD does - this will make them easy to probe at "safes" I'd like this alot, catching untanked tech 3's at safe spots whilst their main is otherwised engaged sounds like a lot of fun!
Obviously switch the bonus's on the T3's and Commandships as T3's are overpowered in comparison.
Some for and against posts:
Someone asked me why I tend to fly "OP" ships and use boost, I answered truthfully in the fact that I like winning fights, and that using the right ships for the job makes sense. As I will often take on ships larger or more dangerous than my own small ship, it makes sense to try and have some advantage, I could choose to fly ships that weren't any good, that wouldn't support my flying style, but let me ask you something... would you get into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson with one hand stuffed down your trousers?