A Game of Fights: Returning PvP to Eve Sovereignty

It’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

So far in this series I have laid out the case for an Eve populated by smaller entities, in far more densely-populated sovereignty holdings which leave more space free for newcomers to nullsec. I have also described how I think this patchwork eve of smaller alliances would look. And I have suggested that the mission agents in PC nullsec stations are the most scalable method of providing an income for more people in less systems, providing enhanced player and alliance incomes while requiring PvEers to take responsibility for the defence of their sovereignty pockets.

So far so good, and I’ve been lucky enough to have overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who have read the articles and discussed them with me on themittani.com, on Reddit, in my comments section, in jabber, on the SoZ podcast, in twitter and more. But the absolutely vital next step is to demonstrate that it is possible to implement a sovereignty system that gives a fighting chance to smaller groups to defend their space if they are willing to fight; that punishes sprawl; and that makes vast renter empires unsustainable. As an added restriction, I’m going to try to describe such a system that can, overwhelmingly, use existing Eve mechanics.

To this end, my suggested system borrows from the current system index system; factional warfare; wormhole mechanics; and even a little of the widely-detested Dominion system (but not very much!)

The Tl;dr

First of all, here is a broad brush-strokes summary. In my suggested system, you only hold sovereignty in space that you use, and use a lot. If you stop using that space completely, you lose sovereignty in it (bye bye vast, sparse empires). If you only use it a little, sovereignty becomes vulnerable. If you use it a great deal, then your sovereignty is invulnerable.

Keeping Your Sovereignty

By “use” I mean the full range of ways that you can exploit space. At the moment we have mechanics for boosting the ratting and mining indexes of a system: the more people run anomalies, do exploration sites, belt rat or run complexes in a system, the higher the Military Index rises. The more ice and minerals people mine, the higher the industrial index rises. In the system I suggest, these activities and more (planetary industry, moon mining, POS-based construction and more) would contribute points to a common sovereignty index. So long as you keep doing these, your sovereignty over the system is undoubted and untouchable. But if you stop doing those, your sovereignty becomes vulnerable to challenge.  If you stop using a system completely for a week, pop!  No more sov.

And someone else doing this in your space doesn’t count.  The alliance holding sov has to use it.  Only their activities count to sov.  And they have to defend it (see below).  Goodbye renter empires.

At this point you might think “wait, you said people would have to fight for their space! That sounds like PvEing for it! I’m not going to rat to take sov!” Don’t worry: every stage can be attacked and defended by fighting!

Taking Their Sovereignty

Now someone like Pasta Syndicate or Sniggwaffe may come along and camp your space. They may or may not actually want it, but they will enjoy stopping you using it (once upon a time, Goons were like this too, and frankly I’d like to see those days return). They gank your mission-runners, terrify your miners into docking-up, they reinforce your CSAAs and moon-miners. Before you know it your indexes are plummeting. If you are based in the same timezone as your attackers (remember, the system is based around making fights more likely, so attackers should choose targets that are affected by their camping, and those will tend to be be in the same timezone) then the majority of our activity will drop.

Now if you want your space to remain invulnerable, you have to fight them. You form up standing defence fleets, you set traps with bait ships, maybe you drive them off, maybe they are satisfied with a few days of fights and leave, but you cannot just dock up and hope they go away. If you do that, then your sovereignty index decays in the course of a week or so to “vulnerable”, where you are still using your space a little but not enough for it to be unchallenged, and now your sovereignty can be disputed by the attackers.

At this point, the hostiles can shoot your Territorial Claim Unit and put the system into reinforced. This is not a Dominion-era sov structure with annoyingly huge hitpoints: it can be shot by a dozen dreadnoughts in a single cycle: something even a small alliance should be able to scrape together. Or you can use a wing of battleships and take a little longer. So you reinforce the TCU and now sovereignty is up for grabs. Here is where the fun begins!

Old Molle’s Pendulum War

The defenders have set a timer, say 2100 Eve for a predominantly European alliance. Each day for the next week, a factional-warfare-style complex will spawn: the attackers and defenders can see these timers in advance. System control starts at 7/7 for the defender. Every time the attacker manages to win a complex timer (more on that, tomorrow), system control drops by one. When the attackers get control down to 0/7, the system is taken. Simple.

This is a bit like Factional Warfare, and a bit like the best aspects of the old POS system. The attacker won’t lose everything if they lose a single timer, and the war can be dragged on by either side by turning up and fighting. If either side fail to turn up for a timer, the counter goes to their opponent by two.

I want to discourage people blueing-up the galaxy, so this next bit will be controversial but Eve players have shown that if we are left to ourselves we coalesce into no-fun blobs. So this is about giving smaller actors a chance, and removing the advantage of amassing huge blocs.

Those complexes will have two entry points, one of which will be reserved for the alliance that reinforced the TCU – and only that alliance – and the other of which is reserved for the defending alliance. Each has a mass limit, just like wormholes. If the system has a greatly-upgraded station then that mass limit will be a lot higher, and will allow dreadnoughts or carriers through. Those systems are for the big boys. If there is no station then the mass limit will be lower and will only allow battleships through at most. A non-upgraded station will allow, say, a full wing of fifty battleships in at most, which pretty much says that you need to get together a group of three hundred dedicated people to realistically hold a station system against a committed attacker.

You cannot get your allies to mass-camp the enemy’s entry-gate, either. You can implement entry to the sov complex in a number of ways, be it a special cyno players can jump to or even just a button in a station you press to be transported there. Enforcing difficulties just spoils fun. And believe me, those of you saying “but they’ll just teleport their carebears from empire!” should just think for a second about what that means for your killboard, while the best way to keep PvE players is to get them into fights alongside their corpmates.


Yes, these are a cross between FW complexes, wormholes and instanced battlefields. We’ve shown that this is needed in the last few years.  It’ll be a lot more fun than today’s turning away subcaps to stop the game crashing.   No Tidi.  No lag.  Fights that a newbie FC can have a crack at.  A tangible reward for bringing expensive ships.

So you can’t bring allies: you do it alone, attacker versus defender, in fleets whose size and makeup are essentially decided by the defender’s ambition when they chose to take that system in the first place. The better will beat the worse; the more committed will beat the lazy.

CCP and fans of huge lag and TiDi will still get their big battles. How many of the great battles that hit the papers are over sov timers? Virtually none: they are all over CSAAs or accidents, whether accidentally dropped sovereignty or accidental titan bridge-jumps. 6VDT was not over sov but over a principal (that Test weren’t beaten down even though their sov was lost). The huge battles over CSAAs and high-end moons and misjumped capitals will still happen.

Tomorrow: what happens inside the complex.

P.S.  I know it needs charts, but I have the graphical ability of Damien Hirst on a bad day.

  • Grymkhaos

    I really like this article, i feel this sov system would be the best thing for the game right now, keep these coming their great articles.

  • Endie

    The final stage (inside the complex, and how to take sov) comes in the next article.

  • Teth

    Rather than larger complexes for more upgraded systems have you considered more plexes based on the number of staiton upgrades, towered moons, and people logging out in system? Force large entities to fight on multiple fronts possibly with different goals in each plex. Some a simple take and hold others with something that needs shot or collected and moved, at the largest scale might encourage use of very large toys.

    Such an artificial system might not be needed to prevent mass blueing. You can’t deploy miles from home for 2 weeks if the indexes take into account activity. SOV could be made Vulnerable exponentially quicker day to do in a situation where there is no active defense but decay much more slowly if there are pvp kills and losses on both sides. This could be tracked and PvP incentivised as an career by offer LP on KM value to participants.

    Of course accompanied by a Logistics stacking penalty which the game desperately needs to remove the binary nature of fights in which the normal outcome wil be a winner who takes virtually no losses and a loser who’s forces are decimated.

  • Joseph Brownridge

    Agree on the first 2 stages completely.

    However the complex stage has problems as i see it. The effect of it would be form up bigger alliances i feel because the first time some smaller alliance RFs the TCU and they can only field 15 people then the fight is auto lost. This is a very real scenario that would unfold with provi-bloc at the moment if it were implemented as is. A lot of smaller sov players (again i speak from a provi bloc perspective) cannot field 50 people off time zone and the weakest ones cannot even in their peak times, never mind getting large T3 blobs that would become the meta. That’s what i see what is wrong with it.

    Looking forward to reading your next part and response.

  • Manfred Hideous

    Love the ideas. I’ve bitched for null station agents for years so individual pilots can make enough for their replacement ships. I think sov complexes and usage point systems would also be awesome.

  • progodlegend

    So far I’ve really liked your series, and I think you’ve had some great ideas. This is another great article with some good ideas, and I’m liking the occupancy based sov idea more and more every day. One aspect I really like about occupany based sov is it’s solution to time zone wars that you pointed out in this article. I had not made that connection yet, that since you’re sov is based on you playing the game, that the best time to attack you is during your time zone. That is just plain awesome, and a complete 180 from the system we currently have now.

    However, there has got to be a better way than putting artificial limits on who can enter the complex to defend your system. I know, that saying “it ruins the sandbox” is cliche and at this point not a good excuse, but instanced and hard capped fights has never been a thing in EVE, even when EVE was a much more healthy game years ago. Now don’t get me wrong, your idea as it is verbatim is much better than what we have currently, but I think it can be improved upon and take elements from others ideas as well.

    You mention the main reason for putting the hard cap on which alliances can enter a complex is because you can’t trust EVE players to not blue up and blob. While I generally agree with you that EVE players will find a way to give themselves the maximum advantage, the problem is trying to implement systems specifically designed to limit that is extremely difficult, and even a system as constraining as this one can be gamed a little bit. Off the top of my head the one thing I know will happen is that alliances will just start accepting merc corps or large corps they are allied with to their alliance whenever their sov is under threat. Coalitions will find a way to reorganize so that they can still hold all of their sov but supply the numbers to the complexs that need it the most. It would be difficult, but you as a member of goons are probably more aware than any of us of how innovative EVE players can be and the hurdles they can climb.

    That being said, I think your idea is important regardless of whether I think it’ll work or not, because it adds different ends of the spectrum to the conversation. I think the overall idea you’ve come up with is a very good starting point for a comprehensive rework of 0.0 that we can all enjoy.

    P.S: Wow, I just had this idea while typing this. While I don’t like the complex idea you’ve come up with in this blog for sovereignty space, I DO however think it would be awesome if you implemented this idea exactly as it is in NPC 0.0. Basically it’d work a little bit like faction warfare in that whoever “owned” the npc 0.0 system would be the only alliance allowed to dock in it. Other alliances could then come in try to kick you out. It makes sense in the context of the game as well because basically you would be fighting for the approval of that NPC alliance to dock and live in their system. This way the complex could be spawned by that NPC alliance and would have the restrictions on who could enter and mass limits that you detailed in your blog. This would be an excellent jump off point for alliances to move from low/high sec to 0.0, without having to make major commitments to build their own infrastructure or engage in too much diplomacy. I know I’ve heard Mittani and others mention that there needs to be a stepping stone for alliances who want to break into 0.0, this could definitely be it.

    I would implement your entire idea in this blog into NPC 0.0 sov tomorrow if I could. Sprinkle in a few more NPC 0.0 regions to even it out and it would be awesome.

  • Grymkhaos

    good deal, very much looking forward to reading it.

  • LSM

    Instead of complexes why not use the planets? Make it so the temperate planets are the most valuable for bringing the TCU to its kness, and set it so only subcaps can contest planets before opening up a final stage where caps and supers can enter

  • pugnaxbonecrusher

    I dig it. One point of clarification – this is an alliance v alliance battle inside the complex, correct? Would there be a formalized mercenary system?

  • Jack Haydn

    Trying to poke holes into your suggestions here. All ideas need QA after all:

    In this system, I’d fold all my allies into once alliance. Then I could own a huge amount of space and actually utilize it (the CFC probably wouldn’t keep 100% of their current holdings as an alliance, but maybe 50%). If systems truly support an infinite number of ratters and miners, I’d install a tax manager, who will rotate systems (or agents, depending on implementation) through lowtax (get it?) sales periodically, to keep them all at invulnerable state. Since the amount of activity needed is going to be a flat ceiling for invulnerability, I can own as many systems as my alliance has the resource to keep at invulnerability, even if 1 system would suffice.
    In the current system, I still need as many bodies as possible both as defender and attacker. I need to be able to camp and reinforce as many systems in parallel as possible (this is specifically promoted through the limiting complexes) and as a defender I need to be able to break as many camps and defend as many complexes as possible, simultaneously.
    Numbers still trump (bigger and more camps to establish or defend or complexes to attack/defend).
    Since complexes are limited in numbers, I’d only bring my 2-3 newbies in frigates to provide warp-outs, in contrast to an unlimited amount of newbies right now. Yes, when I am in danger of losing my space, newbie grooming is only a secondary goal.

    Renting would be gone. The current empires would shrink their sov footprint, but not break up or reduce their numbers. The binary power distribution would still exist, maybe we’d get a third or possibly fourth coalition back, if they don’t just join the existing ones. What are renters now, might just be alliance members tomorrow. We’d still be far from an alliance per constellation to half-region or any regular wulfpax sized content.

  • Jack Haydn

    This actually shows a possible fix to some of my gaming your system: Make the requirements for the activity indices scale with the amount of characters in the alliance.

  • StevieTopSiders

    “Anything a small group can do, a large group can do better.”

    Instancing is Evil(TM), but it is the only way to keep one side from being outblobbed.

    As a specific mechanic for protecting entrances to the complexes, when a complex is ready to be attacked, members of the “attacking” and “defending” alliances all get special bookmarks that will take them to the complex entry gate, an area at which they cannot be probed down. Maybe include a sort of cyno so that alliances can cyno onto their defending/attacking gate to avoid gatecamps/station camps? Sure, they can cyno in 200 carriers, but only 3 of those will make it through the gate before it collapses.

  • Wrecked Angle

    Something that isn’t immediately apparent is that the ‘Complex Contest’ part is actually the second phase of assault/defence which is there so smaller groups don’t just get their Sov steamrolled by a larger group. For the larger entities and the people worried about the ‘every Rifter counts’ way of thinking you still have the first phase before the system becomes vulnerable to make your presence felt. Do enough to repel the attackers in that time and you never have to worry about the timed complexes at all.

    Still not completely sold on the idea though. Two things that spring to mind are Hellcamps and afk cloakers(oh gawd!), we’d be seeing plenty of both if these mechanics were to be brought in.

  • June Ting

    Agreed. This basically creates the opposite incentive of what you had originally intended, Endie. There will be one ‘CFC’ alliance, etc. with the tens of thousands people that would ordinarily be in separate alliances blue to each other instead just dogpiling into the same alliance and bloating the size of each alliance. There would be zero future for small alliances in the scenario you propose.

  • Endie

    To an extent I share your concerns about something so rigorous in a “sandbox” game. But whatever sov system we have will shape behaviour. The current system encourages the dreaded N+1 gameplay, massive coalitions, coward agreements, stagnmation, and bloat. I honestly believe that since we must have sov rules, we should have ones that don’t reward size and punish the smaller groups. That’s the overriding goal. Yes, people will add mercenary corps or the like – I actually suggested in an earlier article in the series that mercs would benefit from a system where smaller groups matter and system harassment has a point – but people actually game systems less than you might think (look at the 5 POS per system limit), and the security risks and drama that would come out of such temporary arrangements would be nicely chaotic in themselves.

    I don’t for a second claim that this is the perfect system: I’m an amateur, after all. But it is made of existing game components (indexes, reinforcement timers, wormhole mass limits, FW complexes, ship-specific gates) and doesn’t require wholly new systems, and to that extent it is achievable. And even if CCP reject it, I want them to realise that only tinkering is not just insufficient, it is shirking their duty.

  • Endie

    As PGL suggests, I don’t think you need to formalise it: people will admit mercs (and do so at their peril!, since sometimes mercs are paid higher amounts and having a member corp turn on you could be devastating). I think it would add to merc business without any new formal rules: let people hire mercs to harass hostiles before an attack, or to divert potential third parties or destabilise people clandestinely. Smaller groups mean more impact for them.

  • Endie

    A big part of the complex thing is to strip away the reasons to go adding more numbers and more corps. By tweaking the size of the mass limits (not ship numbers limits, remember!) you could effectively shape the optimal sizes of alliances in null: enough to participate, but not so many that you need to hold a dozen systems at once with a PvE-heavy alliance that can only defend four timers at a time, each in systems reinforced by different attackers.

  • Endie

    Not only do I disagree with you, I factually know that this won’t happen, from being involved in discussion and from talking to the others who would decide. This system would make such bloc-alliances pointless, unwieldy and indefensible. Quite apart from them being utterly undesirable. When you don’t need 12,000 blues, only cowards will seek them, and those people will constitute nothing more than fodder and guaranteed fights for the rest.

  • Endie

    In the previous article I reluctantly pointed out that afk cloasking would have to be nerfed in a denser eve where an alliance might only hold a couple of station systems for hundreds of members.

    In this one I suggested that defenders and attackers should be able to travel immediately to the complex in order to make it impossible to prevent fights occurring through camping contested systems. This works far better than the current system, since it is aimed at generating and guaranteeing fights rather than allowing people to prevent them. It also has the benefit of setting a lower bar for participation which will tie more peripheral members into a corp by giving them easy access to PvP. When I persuade a newbie to PvP I am sure they’ll be around for far longer than otherwise. That’s good for corps and for the game.

  • Endie

    Yep, that would work, or having them assemble at the second gate of a two-gate deadspace complex so they can form up before deploying through the final gate into the complex. There are a bunch of ways, but I think you “get” what I mean, yes.

  • Endie

    It’s important that I don’t suggest “infinite”. For one thing, once local gets long attackers are easily hidden, and can gank more easily. You risk lag at certain levels, and other resources (nearby moons, good planets) will encourage some spreading-out. I think alliances will expand out a bit, due to good old “more land is better”.

    But I genuinely don’t see why a PvP alliance would bloat under a system designed to deny in-game advantages. A PvE one? Sure. And they will be farmed.

  • Endie

    Yes: the logistics stacking penalty is going to be a key component.

  • June Ting

    Okay, maybe I overreached in speculating on the outcome for larger alliances/coalitions. But it functionally would force my alliance to merge into Brave Collective in order to continue holding our space, because we can field at most 20-30 people by ourselves and act as force multipliers for HERO rather than simply providing a lot of warm bodies. We can’t field a full fleet of battleships.

  • Jack Haydn

    Well, if it’s not infinite, then the requirement for a tax manager might even be obsolete and the coalitions will roll all alliances into one alliance and just have heaps of space anyway.

  • Zaand

    That’s the second Damien Hirst reference I’ve heard in two days… weird.

  • Grymkhaos

    So i got to thinking again and i have another concern on my mind about this type of system. Say you do have a lets say 500 man alliance able to field 50 ppl to defend their space like they should, AWESOME! but what would stop a 3k man or 5k man alliance able to field 250 ppl in total from splitting up into 5 fleets and hitting 5 of ur systems at the same time? but i guess u might cover that tomorrow.

  • Jasmine

    So for the most part I’ve been loving these. I would love to see a return to the 2007-ish Null. However, the Battlegrounds mechanic from WoW as featured in the paragraph “You cannot get your allies to mass-camp the enemy’s entry-gate, either.” Is pretty weak overall. Going to a place geographically outside of EVE defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it? Essentially, unless I’m misreading, you want the sov battles to take place in Jove space outside of the systems they’re supposedly fighting for. Some of the best times in EVE are when you accidentally into a major fight, throwing a 3rd party corp/alliance/group into the chaos of space conflict.

    Null-Sec pirates should have just as much opportunity to mess with Player sov as Low Sec pirates have messing with FW sov. That is to say, while Low Sec pirates can’t claim buttons; they can still access the complexes and fight whomever happens to be around. If GalMil is making a push on Sov, Low Sec pirates can still make their life difficult in claiming/reclaiming space. In a similar sense, Null Sec pirates should still be a hindrance and not cut out completely from the sov mechanic.

    For example; Alliance A holds space. Pirate Group 1 has been camping them in for 8 days. The pirates have no care about sov and are just a catalyst for a sov fight. Alliance B seeing the opportunity to invade a weakened system/constellation goes to war with Alliance A and so begins their pendulum. The pirate group, who wanted to escalate the fighting for “good fites” is now sitting on the sidelines unable to harass, kill, or partake in this “epic space battles” that are occurring in an untouchable part of space.

    Also – I see nothing on the use, purpose, or value of supers/titans mentioned in your sov re-balancing. I assume that this will be covered at some point in the future, as they are a fundamental element of past and current null-sec.

  • pugnaxbonecrusher

    You’re describing way too much logistical overhead. If you were to formalize the whole CFC under one alliance it would tear itself apart through shit flinging drama. Even the CFC doesn’t have enough fcs to camp and reinforce that many more systems than a smaller group – there are diminishing returns there.

  • Endie

    With no locked-in reason to be in a big bloc, those that do form (and they will) will coalesce then melt apart with a speed that makes the current situation look like glaciers by comparison. Eve dudes are super-argumentative and blocs used to split under even the old pos system, fairly regularly.

    I don’t think, really, that you want to enable a small, quick force to deal a “quick and decisive blow” to another. I think that the era of rapid sov takedowns (as dominion encourages when one side is a bit bigger) has led to paranoia and safety in numbers. The new one lets everyone have plenty of chances to fight for their sov. Only the cowards who don’t turn up, or those broken in a long war with a digged opponent, will lose their space.

  • Endie

    Yep, I think that vanity alliances or those so small that they can only stick 20-30 people on the field will have to expand until they can reach the sov plex level. While I am in favour of smaller units, alliances who are really just corps in an alliance in all but name (like you decide) don’t have some God-given right to hold sov.

    That said, if your allies defended your ability to use your space, it would never go vulnerable under the system I describe. If they are prepared to play that role then you are safe because if you use your space it can never be contested.

  • Endie

    The point of the system is to encourage fights. Anything that stops people fighting, whether as an attacker or a defender, is bad for a PvP game.

  • Endie

    Nothing would stop that. So alliances could not hold more space than they can defend. This will help prevent sprawl, and will help free up space for new groups.

    Remember, from the previous article, that missions mean that alliances would be able to live in less space than now.

  • Endie

    Yes! Centrifugal forces would tear large groups apart, without the balancing centripetal force that you have now (fear of losing space in a week to a massive uncounterable blob).

  • Fellblade

    If ‘an AFK person with a cloak’ is an issue for an alliance of several hundred people who are in a handful of systems, I’m unsure as to how they had any chance of holding sov in the first place.

  • June Ting

    Fair point that we’d never even have our space contestable to begin with.

    question for you though: which of your current allies would GSF jettison under this new system? Name names! Would you also kick non-Goonswarm corps from GSF in order to reduce your blue count and have more targets?

  • pugnaxbonecrusher

    This implies that mercenaries are corporations that fly under the clients banner. I love it!

  • Zazz Razzamatazz

    The complex gates would only be open to the attacker and defending alliance members right? So a merc corp could join an alliance and fight those last battles then? Kind of like bringing in a ringer to fight for you. Of course they’d have to pay the mercs more if the attacker is persistent to come back and try repeatedly.

  • minmatard

    Very interesting. I like the way it sounds: in order to hold a system or take on, you need to actually play the game. The activity index should be balanced around normal activity for whatever number of players we expect a system to support. So if, say, we expect a level two system to support about 100 pilots, the day to day activity of 100 or so pilots should keep the system at level two naturally. If the population goes up so does the index, and vice versa. That way you don’t get something horrible like ratting ctas or pve quotas. Market activity would need to be included as well, so that traders can do their thing and still contribute. The trick would be cooking up a system that couldn’t be gamed. So you couldn’t, for example, have an army of no-sp alts logged in at all times to goose some population metric, or killing alts in noobships to generate fake activity.

    I like the complex idea as well. Maybe the defender could be able to choose the mass limit for the plex, with the trade off that if you do smaller plexes = more plexes. So a big, rich alliance could choose to try and win in a few big, decisive battles, while smaller alliances could do smaller fights but have to win more of them.

    That said, mass limits would be a problem. Let’s say a hypothetical plex has enough mass for 50 megathrons. That’s great, except the same plex could fit about 450 ishtars. Adios megas, fleets are about to become entirely HACs, t3s and command ships. It’s already like that in wormholes for the same reasons, but it’s fine because w-space corps can’t have that anywhere near that kind of population. Nullsec alliances, on the other hand, could do it easily. Limiting the number of pilots also introduces a problem of “you must be this tall to ride.” As it is now, having some scythes mixed in with your scimis is fine, every little bit helps. Limit the number of pilots and ships though, and every newb in a scythe is taking up a spot that could go to a scimi pilot.

  • minmatard

    Add more plexes and it starts to become more like fw. Not saying that’s necessarily a good or bad thing, but it’s very different. I don’t know if you’ve done fw, but serious plex warfare in a populated system is fun but exhausting. You need complete time zone coverage, and if your pilots aren’t active and fighting 23/7 you lose. Plus the defenders get a big advantage because they can quickly ship up and down for different size plexes, while for the attackers that’s much more complicated.

    Look at what happened in Huola recently. The amarr made what’s probably the biggest push fw’s ever seen. They planted multiple staging POSes, spent billions stocking them with full fleet reships for a half dozen doctrines, had neutral carriers restocking the towers all day, and fought almost continuously over two weeks. All that, and they only got the system above 50% once or twice. Now imagine doing that for every system in a constellation, let alone a whole region. Meanwhile your pilots are worried about becoming homeless because they’ve spent too long on the front lines (I know you mentioned that, and you’re right on the money – there would need to be some mechanic in place so you don’t drop sov because you’ve deployed for a week or two.)

  • Jon

    Parts of this are unique and very thought provoking. I think it has been said already but the reason the major coalitions stay together is simple preservation. If your the leader of alliance x in coalition a while you may hate one of the other alliance leaders or not like or want to follow the coalition leader but you would hate being homeless and irrelevant even more. The fear of becoming a footnote in EvE’s alliance notebook keeps a lot of alliances in place when they would likely prefer to be independent. The ability for any alliance to survive and hold space on their own in Any significant form or fashion would only be at the pleasure or approval of the two blocs now. Fear is what keeps the coalitions together. Fear of loosing their space, income, or eve relevance. I have to agree with Endie that this is where we are. The only way for EvE to live again is for the alliances to live and stand on their own. At this point not even what we used to call a Tier one Alliance could survive without a coalition these days. I don’t know if the writes plan is the answer but it’s a step in the right direction.

  • Madbuster73

    Everday a timer for a week long is a horrible idea.
    Just let the complexes respawn like in FW.
    There should be no control with timers, timers create power projectrion and Tidi.
    Actually, make it exactly like FW, only with bigger sized complexes. starting from Small to X-Large (for Capitals)

  • Teth

    I actually see the commitment and resources need and timezone coverage of that aspect as a positive. I’m from the great war 1 era of null when systems had to be controlled 23/7 and we all lived in a POS to maintain control with skirmishes happening all the time and timers every few hours. I would love to see that back.

    As long as the 20 Australian guys in your mainly EU coalition can feel like they achieved something even if its just limiting your losses that’s ideal.

  • Jasmine

    Agreed, but the system is also drastically limiting who can fight. The FW system can just be exported to Player Sov as a whole; Multiple sized sites unlock, each working toward the end. Only sov holders at war can effect the button, essentially meaning that if the Sov Corp/Alliance wants the space they’ll have to eject the pirates first. The “battle realm” idea removes more chances for a fight than adds. Fights in Low Sec occur on gates, stations, planets, acceleration gates, and inside the plex. The realm basically negates any possibility of a running battle since they’ll be locked into that location. Admittedly the idea isn’t perfect as it would be possible for a very determined pirate group to grief people into losing sov.. but why would that be a bad thing?

    Back to the example:
    Alliance A is camped into station, pirates want a fight. Sov drops below level and now sites start appearing. An alliance wide message goes to Alliance A saying their sov is at risk. Pirates can now either leave, or reship and come back in the appropriately sized ship to camp the plex. Alliance A now has a choice – Fight pirates or leave them be and hope no one takes the first plex. Alliance B has a choice, fight pirates and secure the button, or just forgo the whole thing as not worth it. The site will still be open until eventually some sov holding corp comes along and takes it. If it’s the defenders than there will be ratters to kill as they attempt to regain sov, and if it’s the aggressors the whole plex issue starts with a new sized plex, ensuring good fights everywhere.

  • Jonas Linux

    I liked all of it expt the last part. Why not let the newly vulnerable system simply go to the alliance that can sustain a higher sove index for a week?

  • Andrew Dodd

    I personally don’t like the idea of dual-entrance plexes with mass limits – Hard limits like that often lead to unexpected consequences, and in general, I’m not a fan of putting in hard caps as a game mechanic to limit things.

    Instead, there should be a variety of mechanics that exert pressure to encourage an alliance to keep space small with higher population density:

    Right now, the benefits of having an extremely high (especially 5) industry or military index for a system are outweighed by the detriments – Index 5 systems often attract unwanted attention, so I’ve seen numerous guides specifically saying to rotate systems to keep the index at around 3. It’s BAD if there is active discouragement to keeping a system’s index high.

    I think that can be solved with fairly minor improvements:

    1) Make it harder for hostile entities to find out the system’s military/industry indexes to avoid the issues mentioned in the “Consequences” section of http://dl.eve-files.com/media/1205/Bloodtear_Industy_Index_Report_v3.pdf

    2) Add additional bonuses based on industry and military index that also benefit defensive PvP activity in the system. These bonuses are ONLY given to members of the alliance that holds sov in the system. For example, have industry level give a 7.5% bonus per level to shield/armor/structure resists and 2.5-5% bonus per level to mining laser cycle time. The resist bonus should not be affected by stacking penalties. Have the military index give 5-7.5% or so damage bonus per level, along with possibly tracking/range bonuses. Also consider ewar and speed/agility bonuses of some form for one of the two indices, or consider tracking more activity indices for a system with bonuses tied to these new indices. In general – lots of activity in a single system should give a wide variety of bonuses to members of the alliance holding the system.

    3) Add plexes of varying sizes throughout an alliance’s territory. Completion of a plex by alliance members gives a significant bonus to one of that system’s indices, but *completion by a nonmember contributes a small amount to index decay across all systems owned by the alliance*. This allows an attacker to contribute to index decay in populated systems by attacking unpopulated ones – discouraging alliances from holding system they are not using. Consider combining this mechanic with a reduction of base index decay rate. Also, do not show activity in these plexes on the map, making it so that an alliance needs to have an active presence in a system to determine that hostile plexing is occurring.

    4) Reduce sov structure HP significantly, but offset this with a significant resist bonus (in addition to the industry index resist bonus) tied to some sort of activity-based index (sum of all other indices?) So sov structures in unused space should be VERY easy to take out, but sov structures in heavily used space should be somewhat harder to kill than they currently are.

    5) Another possibility to consider (from here on out, my ideas are going to get a bit wackier/farfetched, so be warned) – in addition to the indices, have activity in a system contribute to some sort of system-specific currency pool. Maybe “Infrastructure Points”? An alliance can spend these IP on temporary bonuses/upgrades to the system – possibly even a method for combatting AFK-cloakers. (e.g. spend IP to send out a system-wide “ping” that will decloak any ship if the pilot does not react within a certain period of time. Thus cloakers are the keyboard aren’t harmed at all, but you can’t enter a system, cloak up, and then go watch TV for two hours.) Again, bonuses are limited to the system where the IP were earned and only benefit the sov-owning alliance.

    Items 1-4 would encourage an alliance to actually use systems and get a significant bonus from high population density. The bonuses should be such that a highly upgraded “poor” truesec system should be significantly better than a minimally upgraded “good” truesec system, moving the focus on system quality from truesec to activity levels. Item 5 would give a variety of additional bonuses, including a way to combat the tendency of AFK-cloakers to permacamp high-index systems.

    What I can’t figure out here is how to handle travel and accessibility when alliances are encouraged to keep smaller amounts of territory. Perhaps there should be a way to get bonuses from safe transit through a system that an alliance owns – but it should be set up in a way such that a system optimized as a transit system should have poor mining/ratting. The problem here is how to encourage transit tolls/sharing for people “just passing through” without encouraging system rental.

  • Endie

    I don’t think that most people would enjoy a game where sov is actually won by competitive ratting and mining.

  • Endie

    That’s what lowsec is for. Nullsec needs to allow for a single, owning alliance, and they will have a timezone that they operate in. if you ignore that timezone element, then nobody gets fights, because it rewards an attacker to attack someone in a different timezone when they can grind complexes while the enemy sleep.

  • Endie

    The problem with your approach, which is still an improvement on Dominion, I grant you, is that i see no problems in taking sov in it that I couldn’t fix by bringing twice as many people.

  • Endie

    Yes. Also, allowing corps into your alliance is in itself wrought with potential for drama and betrayal. All of which makes it more interesting!

  • Endie

    On reflection, as you suggested in twitter, I think that NPC nullsec would be a very good place to at least trial the system I describe.

  • pugnaxbonecrusher

    And the mercs could ‘awox’ with abandon as well if they are unhappy with the conditions. Very awesome.

  • JAF Anders

    I’d love to see the concept of PvE-for-sov rolled into a more manageable and more meaningful Corporation / Alliance experience. In a similar function to taxes, the organization could dictate at-will the amount of control currency to be directly and immediately funneled into the upkeep of the system.

    Think of it like an automatic donation to the Loyalty Points stored in a Faction War system, with no middle-man. When the systems are getting slammed by a dedicated eviction crew, organization leadership can ramp up the effect that PvE has on the control of the system, challenging the invading force to match tempo or risk getting edged out. Groups that want to raid, pillage, and plunder can do so with an exceptionally low cut falling off to a system they have no intention of owning.

    Rationing and wartime economies are awesome topics that the game doesn’t (pardon the pun) capitalize on, or at least emphasize.

  • Andrew Dodd

    Well, yes, you COULD bring more people – but the idea is to discourage doing so.

    Yes, you COULD drop an “apex force” on an alliance’s most upgraded system – but they’re going to have a pile of combat bonuses against you. (To deal with spider-repping logis, I think a defensive ewar bonus will be necessary here…) One thought I did have was – while “primary” objectives shouldn’t have hard limits (but again – the idea is not to outright stop certain practices, but discourage them), the “plex down an alliance’s indexes” objectives should have some ship size limits. e.g. while some of the objectives could allow capitals – CCP could make these objectives have a long respawn time compared to objectives that have smaller size limits (frig-only objectives with immediate respawn, cruiser 15 minutes, BS 1 hours, caps 6 hours?)

    Now the problem is, in many ways the system I proposed acts by making single heavily-populated systems more valuable to the owner – this increases population density and reduces sprawl, which discourages renting and large alliances controlling regions full of minimally-populated systems, BUT it has a disadvantage. It will reduce the incentives for combat/wars.

    Perhaps it needs a second component that encourages combat. One person suggested adding mission agents to player sov – perhaps some of these missions could be designed so as to focus on attacking non-friendly alliances. Similarly, the plexes I mentioned previously that would hurt the sov-owner’s indexes could potentially have a heavy ISK/loot bonus for attackers. (So attacking the plex gives significant ISK/loot and a penalty to the owner’s bonus indexes, defending it gives far less ISK/loot but adds to the index to bonus other activities.) Either way, it starts getting a bit hairier here.

    I think the system I proposed could serve as a first step that isn’t likely to have TOO many negative impacts – and CCP could modify/revisit it later in the event that it caused too much of a reduction in wars.

    (In general, I’m not a big fan of “sledgehammer balance” – with a few exceptions, small adjustments that are intended to put pressure towards the desired result are better than baseball-batting a problem with sweeping changes – the latter often has unintended consequences. What I suggested at least uses mechanics that are MOSTLY in place already – the per-system sov indexes and the bonuses could be implemented using a variation of fleet bonuses. The hardest thing to implement without a risk of unforeseen consequences would be the “plex-to-reduce-index” mechanics I think)

  • Diskutant

    Excellent! Well thought out. Maybe a bit complicated, but the basic principle is without reproach!
    May I add two points:
    1.) I doubt that an attacker can be present in a contested system for so long that the PvE-indices drop enough. Granted, PvE-ers dock up once hostiles enter the system. However, they undock once it is clear again – an attacker would have to camp a system 23/7 to get those indices down. Instead, I would base the sov index entirely on the presence of armed, piloted, uncloaked, un-POSed ships. Larger ships count more. Defenders’ ships bolster sov index, attackers’ ships weaken it. Thus, whoever maintains the larger military presence over time holds the sov.
    2.) Hard caps are unwelcome. CCP has stated that they do not like them. They give an advantage to the richer group, while being a larger group (Newbie Zerg Alliances) should also be a viable factor. But: Remove the hard caps, then you have the problem with blobbing. But you can get rid of that too by removing timed occurances altogether – no timed sov battle, but again simply count military presence over time. A dedicated smaller group can win by being there for longer than the larger, but less determined group. Once the defenders have lost their index for seven consecutive days, they lose sov. The entity that then has the highest index for three consecutive days gains sov.

  • Diskutant

    I have a question, maybe it is a flaw: if sov can only change hands by fighting in a complex, to which only the sov holder and the alliance which reinforced the TCU have access – then what will prevent the sov holder from reinforcing the TCU themselves via a dummy alliance and then keep that complex on 7/7 for all eternity?

  • Pingback: DoW 80: High as a Seagull | Declarations of War()