Simple systems are far easier to create and manage than complex systems. They are far less vulnerable to bugs and exploits. Complex systems are less malleable, more resistant to future change. Simple systems are easier to adjust and change, iterate upon, if necessary.
This simple proposal is a response to the following complex proposal, which involves such things as nullsec bubbles and structure bashing. Such a proposal would take CCP a year to implement, and a further year to work out the inevitable bugs and exploits.
I've made other war declaration suggestions, each less complex than the previous suggestion. I believe this to be my final iteration on the subject. (But who knows? Maybe it can get simpler.)
Corporations in an alliance, declare war as an alliance (the executor corporation has to declare in this situation.) Corporations in an alliance have war declared upon their alliance.
Any number of wars can be declared upon a single corporation/alliance by different corporations/alliances.
I think most people agree that the current costs to initiate a war are far too inexpensive. There is some middle ground where a group will have to weigh cost versus reward before declaring war on another group of players. My suggestion would be that the cost to declare on a corporation be in the 100M to 250M ISK range. That the cost to declare on an alliance be in the 250M to 500M ISK range. This cost would be the base cost.
The 24 Hour Warm-Up
During the 24 hour run-up to the start of conflict, both the attacker and the defender may perform normal membership activities. Players may join the corporation(s) of the attacker and defender. Players may leave the corporation(s) of the attacker and defender.
Friends and Mercenaries
Additionally, during the 24 hour warm-up, the defender may invite other corporations and alliances to join the war on the defending side of the equation. The attacker does not have this option.
The cost to invite a corporation to a war will be in the 50M to 100M ISK range. The cost to invite an alliance to a war is in the 100M to 200M ISK range. I suggest these costs be half of the base cost to initiate a war with a corporation or alliance.
Friends and mercenaries must be invited to each war declaration separately. The cost is per corporation/alliance per war declaration.
The cost is non-refundable. The cost only sends a corporation or alliance an invitation to join the war. That corporation/alliance can choose to accept the invitation or decline the invitation. Accepting adds the corporation/alliance to the war declaration as a defender.
Any number of other corporations/alliances may be invited by the defender, but each invite is a separate non-refundable cost. The non-refundable aspect ensures that scamming/lying/subterfuge/trust remain an integral part of the game.
The invited parties have until the end of the 24 hour warm-up period to accept the invitation. If they do not respond before hostilities begin, the invitation will be automatically declined.
This system puts some power and control into the hands of the defending corporation/alliance.
For industrial corporations, it is now in their best interests to develop symbiotic relationships with more combat-oriented corporations. This mechanic gives the industrial corporation/alliance some method of adequate defense.
This system encourages increased interaction between players, especially with regard to diplomacy and relationship building.
As per usual war mechanics, the attacker and defenders may attack each other at will within empire space without repercussions from CONCORD. This is known as the hostile phase of war.
Attacking and defending corporations may continue to recruit members during hostilities. There will be a delay (suggestion: two hours) in joining a corporation that is at war, once this delay has been completed the membership is activated. This eliminates recruitment gaming (e.g. one person points an adversary, while in station ten people suddenly join the corporation, undock, and become part of the fight.) This delay only takes effect if the corporation is currently in the hostile phase of any war.
Corporations may not join an alliance if that alliance is flagged as the attacker in any war. Corporations may join alliances that are only flagged as the defender in any war.
Members of the attacking and defending corporations may still leave their corporations, though they continue to remain war flagged to all wars currently in their hostile phase.
Corporations may leave alliances during war, though the corporation will continue to remain flagged to all wars currently in their hostile phase.
Only the attacking corporation/alliance may sue for peace. If the defender accepts the proposed surrender, the war ends immediately. If the defender wishes to sue for peace, they simply contact the attacker, if the attacker agrees, then the attacker will initiate the suing for peace mechanic.
Extending the War
A war lasts seven full days (eight if you include the initial 24 hour warm-up period.) There is no mechanic to extend the war from within the war itself.
If an attacker wants to continue a war, then, once the current war ends, the attacker simply redeclares on the defending corporation/alliance. When redeclaring, another 24 hour warm-up period will take effect.
I am curious to hear possible exploits and problems with this proposal. Obviously there are certain restrictions imposed upon the attacker that are not imposed upon the defender. The attacker commits themselves to the war, the defender has some power to shape the war to their advantage.