Depopulate, repopulate. Lololol.

CrazyKinux's latest blog contest proposes this exercise: "The goal is to write an article on planetary control and how that would be implemented in EVE. Your article needs to cover what features, game mechanic, game design you would like to see implemented if (or when) planetary control/exploration/exploitation becomes available in EVE."

1. No taxes!
"No taxes. It means exactly what it says. Your own house, plenty of time for the family. Rich in twenty months, retired in twenty years. Think about it, take your time. This is the best opportunity of your life, and all you need is to sign here."
So the recruiter told me from behind his big, shiny desk. He looked sincere. They all do, at some point. Maybe they are. They have to, when they talk to educated and bright people, the engineers and scientists who are the most important cogs of this world of machines.
Of course, there was a catch. A few months after signing in with the Delve Expansion Project, I learned its name.
Planetary control.
You see, in the Scope reports, it all looks like a giant show. Planetary control just does not happen in Empire space. Every authority with a modicum of common sense will not allow wars to be settled by planetary invasions. But deep 0.0 space is ruled by a different breed of people. They are no more ruthless as our emperors and presidents, I will give them that. Truth be told, they may even care more about the rednecks who live their average, tax-free existence on some forlorn planet. But at the end of the day, at decision time, given the option to terminate a whole planet, they will do it without remorse, while human beings in Empire space have laws, traditions and media to shield them from the most insane and barbaric decisions. Capsuleers will push the red button. They can do it because they are immortals and behave like any conflict, no matter how small or big, is just some kind of game to them.
Planetary control has taken my family, but I pay no taxes. The new overlords don't like taxes either. They need the people to rebuild. I can be happy, I can be sad. It makes no difference, in Delve. Sometimes, you have to pay with your blood, and you get to admire nuclear blasts.
There is no such thing as no taxes.

2. How to invade, defend and exploit a planet
This sketchy proposal excludes, at this stage, the possibility for a planet to be possessed by multiple parties, and focuses on the interaction between space powers and the object determining ownership on a strategic scale, leaving space marines or planetary revolts for further developments.

Planets in space.
Planets need to actually appear in space as physical bodies. Warp to 0 leads to the upper atmosphere, 100km from the surface.

Atmosphere. Atmospheric-enabled ships include everything from capsules to cruisers. Battlecruisers and bigger ships are mostly restricted to space. They can temporarily enter the planetary atmosphere but must deal with fast and massive capacitor loss as their engines try to compensate, up to the point where the capacitor is depleted and structure is lost instead. This phenomenon affects all ships proportionally to their mass. Due to bumping issue, the capital ships used for planetary attacks always make sure to stay at range from the atmosphere.
Atmosphere decreases the range of missiles and reduces the tracking efficiency of guns, making any attack on mobile targets difficult.

Player corporations can conquer, hold and declare ownership over planets located in null-sec space. Planets in high-sec and low-sec space cannot be conquered and appropriated by player corporations. To own a planet, you need to own its control bunker. A planet without control bunker cannot be owned and exploited by space-holding powers. The planet information panel displays the identity of the owner and other relevant information: geographical and geological data, population and tax level.

Advantages of ownership. Each planet has a given number of industrial slots, which depend on its natural potential (size, geology) and actual population. Corporations can establish factories and other buildings using these slots. (Ships bigger than cruisers cannot be built on planets.) One of these buildings is the tax center, which provides direct isk income to the owners of the planet. Another one is the social center, which accelerates population growth.

Population. Heavily taxed population will decline in numbers. Lightly taxed population will remain stable. Very light taxes or no taxes will result in positive demography. It is possible to accelerate the process by investing isk into recruitment centers in Empire space, which is simulated by negative taxes. In case of an attack, population decreases in proportion to the structure points of the control bunker below 75%: if the control bunker gets to 74% structure, the planet loses 1% population, due to collateral damage and exodus. Full scale genocide is just a planetary bombardment away.

Control bunker. This building can be erected for minimal cost and time or for larger amounts of isk and materials. It is possible to build a bigger control bunker to replace a smaller one, which allows to colonize a planet in multiple steps. The building appears on the surface of the planet at a fixed location. Any number of capsuleers can dock there in atmospheric-enabled ships.
Control bunkers, like control towers, have shield, armor and structure values and can be hit by ships at range, provided that the shield is not in reinforced mode. Control bunkers do not require fuel to function, but their shields do. These planetary shields are odiously expensive to maintain. Their main purpose is to give defenders time to regroup by preventing any ship without access code from entering atmosphere. They enter reinforced mode at 25%.
If the defenders fail to fuel the shield at all times, it dissipates. When a shield is being refueled, it does not function and any attack against the control bunker directly damages its armor. Once the shield is down, it is also possible to target and attack other buildings, such as factories and land-to-space missile batteries.
Once a control bunker loses all its armor to hostile assault, ownership of the planet is lost: no more taxes are perceived and all the buildings, including weapons, stop functioning. If the control bunker is empty, any one capsuleer can dock there at this point and claim it for his or her corporation. The process of claiming a control bunker takes ten minutes and any interruption in the process expels the capsule from the bunker. (No ninjaing planets.)
However, it is impossible for the invader to dock into the control bunker until every other capsuleer has undocked. Defenders of a control bunker with 0% armor can elect to stay inside until the structure is depleted to under 25%. At this point, their capsules will be forcibly expelled and invaders will need to repair the bunker up to 25% before they can dock and claim. Such a victory will have cost the planet the majority of its population. Defenders can thus choose to defend "to the end", hoping to be rescued by allied forces or to deny assets to enemies. It also gives them leverage to negotiate with the invader. At 50% structure, it becomes impossible to dock or undock with anything else than a capsule.

Orbital defence. Orbit space can be defended with space mine fields, space-to-space weapons (satellites, ships, outpost guns) and land-to-space armaments. Using small ships to infiltrate the planet's atmosphere far from the control bunker and locate and destroy buildings is a valid strategy.
Space mine fields (multiple racial types) can be deployed up to 100 km above a planet's atmosphere. Navigating inside a mine field without using proper access codes triggers waves of damage able to break any sub-capital tank and to endanger carriers and dreadnoughts given time.
Military satellites function similarly to mine fields but can attack at range and can also be attacked and destroyed.

Dedicating a lot of resources to planetary-based defence, augmenting the control bunker's resistances and multiplying land-to-space armaments, is more efficient when the goal is to win the battle at all costs. However, the planet and its population may be ravaged in the process. Privileging the expensive planetary shield and the orbital defence system, which includes mine fields, military satellites and an outpost, allows to better protect planetary assets, but at greater operational costs.
Since the planet's resources can be damaged by the invasion, diplomacy becomes meaningful as invaders try to avoid a Pyrrhic victory. Atmospheric limitations allow small ships to contribute to planetary warfare by providing intel, attacking weak targets and preventing the refueling of the control bunker.

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