I got some short sharp doses of common sense in response to my last post in which I announced I wanted to attack a wormhole POS so I'd like to talk this evening about why attacking POSes interests me as a gameplay style.
First, POSes have some peculiar vulnerabilities that make them weak against certain tactics. The 250 km Raven can ignore most of the modules including the warp disruption batteries which makes an unmanned POS unable to kill you (unless it has insane alpha). Stealth bombers can ignore many POS guns simply because the guns can't track them and could orbit the POS at 50 firing torpedos and kill it that way if the pos lacks webs. The presence of the vulnerabilities brings out the theorycrafter in me.
Next POSes often guard pretty valuable resources. They can be on sources of valuable moon goo such as Technetium. I actually found a Tech moon pos today which was all short range guns, so soloable (eventually) in a Raven! More realistically they can be looking after low end minerals like Cobalt or Platinum which are still highly profitable.
Even if you can't hold the moon after you kill its POS the loot drop can make killing it worth it. Once you kill a POS you can kill the POS modules and what's inside them drops out. We killed a Neo moon in Esoteria and the silo dropped about 500 million isk worth of Neo. Research POSes in station systems generally have all the BPOs in the station but in non-station systems could be a loot bonanza, dropping highly valuable BPOs. The SMA could be full of ships. The CHA might have all kinds of goodies. And silos will have moon goo or drugs or whatever else they've been making.
The owners of the POS may respond to your threat with a bribe. Note to the community: I accept and honour bribes once agreed.
People quite often make mistakes with POSes. They forget to put stront in, allow the POS to run out of fuel, don't load the guns, mess up the settings so that the POS guns don't shoot back.
Not everyone can drop everything to make a short notice in-game appointment to save their POS. What are you doing 41 hours from now? Well if someone reinforces your fully stronted POS you are either playing Eve or losing your POS, that's what you're doing 41 hours from now. I'm definitely considering August, Christmas and thanksgiving pos bashes against random pos owners because the owner might be away on holiday.
In null sec the tides of politics see alliances fall out of favour and get reset from time to time. When they do it's always some time before their space gets reallocated to a different alliance, that alliance moves in and they start towering their moons. So I have it in mind that next time I play in null sec I'll maintain a list of who is occupying which friendly moon goo site. So if someone gets reset it's green light to reinforce any pos they haven't evacuated and tower any moon they have evacuated.
Most people kill POSes using sieged Dreads. There's some downsides to this. First the Dread is trapped there while in siege mode for a 10 minute cycle. So if you can't hold the field you lose your dread, and they're very expensive. Killing POSes with subcaps using T1 ammo is cheap, doesn't risk much and can offer very nice rewards. If I half expect defence I can deploy one Raven, dps while aligned and I'll probably escape if they try to gank me.
Another element to this is that POSes are meant to be conflict drivers. Turn up in a couple of Ravens and start blowing up someone's POS guns and you're almost guaranteed a fight at the next timer. Hell they may even scramble something and come right at you in dribs and drabs. So if I get to the point where I've FCing 20-30 people in T1 cruisers I may use POSes and Pocos as ways to force fights against people who would normally blueball us. I'd love to take my long range Caracals against some kitchen sink fleet that comes to defend random low sec plat moon.
So what of the ethics of all this? To me Eve is a pvp game. When you put stuff in space you consent to pvp. It's no crueller to beat someone in Eve than to beat someone in Chess. If someone gives you a game of chess do you refrain from taking their Rook because it might upset them? I'm not a griefer but I am a wargamer, have been since I was 5 and I really like Eve's warlike character.
So to summarise: I want to kill POSes because I like doing it, because I think it's a very fun group experience, because it teaches me how to beat POSes, and because it teaches me how to build POSes that are hard to kill. It generates all sorts of interesting political and metagame play. It helps that it's pretty rewarding too.