[ Gooder Eve is a series of on-going articles that examine ideas that might make Eve more gooder, and maybe even more funner to play. Some are serious, like the Chameleon Module, and some are not really serious. But all should be interesting, entertaining and encourage healthy debate.]
Ok, not much mystery with this concept. The infamous tractor beam has been a part of science-fiction lore for a long time, Star Wars, Star Trek and others have used the concept of grabbing an object in space (or sometimes on the surface) and pulling it closer using "tractor tech". I don't know what else to call it, since the idea is pretty silly, so we'll call it "tractor tech" for sake of argument. This isn't a post about the science in science-fiction. For the sake of this post, we'll just assume it works. Like our poor Blockade Runner the tractor beam has us in its evil magical clutches. As Arthur C. Clarke said, sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic anyway.
In Eve the tractor beam is primarily used to grab cans and pull them closer to transports, you can also use it to pull wrecks closer for salvage. That works great and all, but is there a place for a Combat Tractor Beam?
Maybe. Let us consider the pointlessness of a point on a Battleship within the small gang/fleet setting. In that situation the points are usually taken by Interceptors, and other ships. Putting a point on a Battleship is kind of stupid since it takes so long to lock, the BS might be snipers at range, etc., there are a lot of reasons to avoid using them. (I know, there a lot of reasons to have points on BS sometimes, those are not part of the example. And stop interrupting the class!) A "point" is used to hold a ship from warping or slow a ship down to a manageable level. But what about optimal range? What if you could drag that enemy Megathron closer to your ship and get him into optimal range? If your Battleship could fit a Combat Tractor Beam and do just that, would that be something you'd be interested in?
Would the CTB keep ships from warping? In the context of Eve I'd have to vote no, you'd still need someone else to keep point. Otherwise it could be overpowered. It also wouldn't stop the target ship from moving, it would only decrease its orbit and pull it steadily closer. Sometimes this wouldn't exactly be a good thing, you might not like that Blaster fitted Megathron to be closer. That's why the CTB has two settings, pull and push. The darn thing can also push your enemies further away, given the conditions above - maintaining point, etc.
The CTB would take a lot of power to run, it would only fit on BS class ships and it might not be all that common. But is it worth anything? Granted I think the concept is interesting, and it would be nice to have a real CBT in the game, but is it useful... and more importantly, does it make Eve Gooder?