CCP has released a devblog, a wiki article, and there's a 20+ page of Q&A on the Dust514 forums about the proposed Planetary Conquest in Dust514. It has quite a few aspects that remind me of my own idea from an earlier blog, with a lot more details on WHY owning these districts is good.
I will present a basic summary here for those that want it concise.
Planets:One non-Factional Warfare lowsec Region is going to be the test bed for this new system.
Some systems in this region will have multiple Temperate planets, others will have none. This will have an effect on force projection.
Each planet has between 5 and 24 districts on them, which start unoccupied with one of 3 new types of Surface Infrastructure (SI).
The in-game map is going to be refined, optimized to allow easier interaction from the Dust client. (Hopefully with more than just the controller, as I want to ditch it as soon as possible, but we will see.)
Attacking:On day one, the only way for a corp to begin attacking is to purchase a 100 clone pack from the Genolution NPC corp. These will cost 20 million ISK. And you can only purchase one at a time, and you can NOT own any districts to be able to buy this.
A Director or CEO must then "drop" these clones into a district. This can be ANY district on ANY Temperate planet in the region selected.
If the district is unoccupied, the district is immediately clamed by this corp.
If the district is occupied and is not currently queued for battle, it puts the district into "Under Attack" status, and the battle will commence during the reinforcement timer set by the defenders.
If attacking districts on the same planet you currently have a district on, you can drop as many clones as you have stored in the source district into the attack on another (but leaving 0 on the source district will abandon it). All of these clones are now committed to the fight. A normal, non-upgraded clone cap is 300, so its feasible to drop 299 clones when attacking, leaving 1 dude to man the gates back home... which can be attacked.
If the attackers lose all their clones in the attack, the attack is failed, and another must be queued. If the attackers lose their MCC, the defender is awarded 20% of the clones of the attacking force, the rest are destroyed. If the defenders lose their MCC, they lose 100 clones or the amount they lost in battle (whichever is higher) and the attackers have a 1 hour window after the battle to schedule another attack the following downtime.
To conquer the new district, you MUST deplete ALL the clones of the defenders (their territory will not produce more clones, nor can the defender transfer clones from other districts into it, as it is in a "Locked" state.) This may take several assaults. The surviving clones from the successful attack will be left at the new district... which can then be attacked.
Defending:Once you own a district, you can set a reinforcement timer (like on a POCO) and this is the window that battles against your district will take place. There can only be one battle per district per day.
Your districts will grant you clones (40 by default) during your reinforcement timer. A SI can increase this production.
If you produce more clones in a district than can be held there, the rest will be sold at 1/2 the buy price from Genolution (Sell = 100k, Buy = 200k) automatically.
If you lose all your districts, you can once again buy the 100 clone pack to start another attack anywhere in the region.
Benefits to Owning Planets:The holding corp gets ISK from surplus clones they produce. It serves as a corporate ISK faucet.
There are plans for the installations to give bonuses to EVE corporation members in the systems, but it is unclear as to what they will be. PI bonuses, POS fuel consumption bonuses, and POS construction bonuses have all been tossed out as ideas.
Various types of SI give benefits to the Corporation's Dust-side. One increases the total cap (default 300) of clones allowed in a district. Another increases clone production, and one more allows for stronger force projection, with less clone loss per jump.
Map Design:Every district will have a layout bound to it, so fighting in the same district will have the same environment every time. So if it is sandy with a CRU on a pedestal in the South East, it will always be like that.
The weather and "mood" can change, but placement random outlying structures will always be the same on a given district.
The primary "Facility" in the center of the map (as there are 4 major ones) are going to represent one of the 3 proposed SI. I'd assume the maps will be the 5 point ones, as the battles are bigger (see below), but they might throw in that random 4 point one as well.
Squad Changes:These battles will be double in size (from current 8 v 8 to 16 v 16) and squad size will raise from 4 to 6.
These squads can be mixed, consisting of randoms AND corp members, but a squad MUST have a squad leader that is a member of a corp in battle, to "drag" the squad into the match. This could be very interesting.
Friendly fire is ON!
The combination of FF with randoms in squads allows for an interesting griefing potential: infiltrate a corp, bring friends into the match that are in a different corp, have them kill the corp they are supposed to be helping.
Loot Changes:Drops will be based off of what you killed.
Both sides get drops.
SP will also be awarded.
Only the winner gets ISK.
Orbital Bombardments:Corporations and Alliances of the guys on the ground are now the ones allowed to provide orbital support for the mercs on the surface. Thank Satan.
What this means for Factional Warfare:FW is being changed over to a public style match, where randoms can pick a planet/district to fight on (in a system with active plexing) and can still have FW militia members provide OB's. I imagine these will mostly be like the random public matches, but with more importance and draw than the story line Mercenary Contracts, but not as important and Planetary Conquest. I will probably be keeping Caid in the Caldari Militia just for this reason.
SMERG's strategy:Planet: Claim a district in a system as close to Seyllin as possible.
1st Target: Clone recharge.
2nd Target: Clone recharge.
3rd Target: Clone Storage.
Repeat above, then capture a force projection installation to allow Zerging onto distance planets.
It sounds like we will have the ability to destroy the installed facility and create a different one (100M apiece, mind you) in its place. So should we not get the proper target facility for rapid clone accrual, we can always build a different installation.... after we get a good chunk of ISK rolling, that is.
Well, that's as much as I've gained from the Q&A for now, feel free to post questions on the Dust forums or ask me here if you don't have access and I'll see what I can do about getting it answered. CCP Foxfour has been very active in answering the concerns of the players.