Topic: Add a 4th beta island for light and assult bots only
Here's the idea. Add a 4th beta in the center of the map. Link it via teleport to the alpha 1 islands only. Make the terrain around all the teleports and/or stations on the island steep enough that only assault and light bots can navigate it.
Here is why I think it's a good idea:
It would encourage small corps and new players to try out the PVP aspect of the game.
Small bots are cheap enough to risk and lack of mechs on the island would make it more appealing.
At the same time you are stuck using small bots for mining ops and therefore keep the risk and reward balanced.
A bot only island would ad a new dimension of gameplay. New fits to try out and tactics to discover.
It will make the transition to PVP gameplay less punishing for new players. It takes far less EP to run a bot well.
It will allow new corps a better option to access the materials need to start building a proper mech and PVP force using T4 gear. Making the new island a good way to transition into the other beta and gamma islands.
It gives Alpha 1 islands a reason to actually be used. As it is you start on alpha 1 and then leave as soon as possible. Alpha 2 has the same tier of missions, no additional risk, better markets, and better access to beta. Alpha 1 seems to only exist as a place to drop new players and a landmass that must be crossed to help separate the other islands. Add the 4th beta island in the middle and they have a use again as a staging area to beta 4.
The last (and best reason if you are a dev) is this requires no changes to the game mechanics to work. You need only set up a center island and adjust the terrain on the island to make it work. Yes I know it would take time to do and could be a more difficult task than I suspect.. The plus side is that by using existing game mechanics it won't have the unintended side effect of causing any game breaking bugs.