A CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED SOV
In my last article I went over a big pile of reasons why I liked the first iteration of Fozziesov. This one contains a few suggestions for tweaks as well.
Phoebe and Phoezziesov
The impact of Phoebe on these mechanics reveals a key effect of the changes to travel made late last year: localisation.
Imagine you are leader of a mid-sized, sov-holding alliance – “Memecats Alliance” – living in Cobalt Edge and you fancy making yourself feel all relevant and elite (argh I automatically typed “revenant” there). Naturally, you immediately deploy from your holding to, say, Catch where Big Target Alliance already have a bunch of NPC sov dwellers merrily torturing fights out of them from Stain, empire and Curse. You can roam around and bomb or otherwise harass their nightly defence fleets on gates. Maybe pick off stragglers with cloaking ships.
But you are *not* an NPC dweller. You have a bunch of space, and maybe some CSAAs building supers (brave you under the new system!) back in Cobalt Edge. And now “.xX420Noscope BudSmokersXx.” next door in Tenal have camped your left-behind ratters into their stations for days. Who cares, right? They should be on deployment, the scrubs. Let ’em squeal. You are like Ivan the Terrible here.
Except that now your occupancy indexes are plummeting, and a couple of ten-man .xX420Noscope BudSmokersXx. gangs just reinforced every structure in your two constellations in a matter of hours. It took you forever to get down here, and your triage carriers took half a week to move to your lowsec staging system, and now you have to jump clone back or risk losing your entire empire. And this will happen every couple of days. Maybe next time you should consider invading those guys next door, next time?
This is All Good and Working As Intended. The catch, if you will spare the pun, is that people will still take the easy route out, because the system at present doesn’t actually offer incentives to do things as smaller groups. You and your neighbour both want to deploy, you both have to deal with the endless stream of zero-risk NPC dwellers, so why not blue each other? With the potential for endless pestilential timers, the best defence is to blue up everyone nearby. And the guys next to each of you, because shared blue lists are easy. In fact, if you *don’t* view the prospect of hacking your own sov structures every single night from now until eternity as fun for some reason then you either want to live deep in Bluetopia or in NPC nullsec.
The in-game answer is probably mixed-TZ alliances. Like Goonswarm. EG wants to deploy? Set structures for EU TZ vulerability. BL deploys nearby? Set timers for deep euro time and send poor Elo a nice alarm clock as a birthday gift. I am not sure that this is what was planned.
Gevlon Goblin in Good Post Shocker
I am going to do something special here.
I am going to quote The Gevlon. Approvingly. Of course, as Gevlon would be quick to point out, a good post tends just to be one that
the reader agrees with. But here, Gevlon cuts to the heart of the matter and makes a good point.
Each time a structure is reinforced, the defender is being forced to bet he can hold it. The defender’s stake is the sovereignty that
makes living in nullsec (allegedly) worthwhile. The attacker should not force that bet with a T1 cruiser: that is not of commensurate
value for forcing a defender to get scores of people to waste an hour of their gameplay to fix their trolled sov. And a handful of interceptors warping in at each side of a 500-km wide sphere and warping off to let others continue using their Entosis mods whenever approached is not placing assets at risk to force fights. Nor is what I admit I would love, warping around the field using the Entosis mods to kite defenders into a steady stream of tackle wrecks.
On a personal note, I cannot help but think that this is a chance to make battleships relevant again. Make the fitting requirements require at least a battleship, or maybe a battlecruiser hull, and you have some old-fashioned, burly brawls on your hands once more! P.S. fix bombers and insta-probing.
In any case, the doomsday theorycrafting about ridiculous, untrackable setups should wait until we know the fitting requirements of the Entosis units. I bet Fozzie has no intention of allowing pairs of 12km/s troll inties to zip around kiting uncatchably.
If Everyone is a Wolf…
Manny was also quick to raise the question of risk vs reward
“Besides the name on the map why would anyone choose to move to nullsec? ( Incursions , level 5’s already offer more isk per hour than
It is vital to remember that Manny sits firmly on the predator side of the argument, here. He knows that, in order to get fights, PL
need a vibrant and busy nullsec upon which to predate. A system which allows non-sov-dwellers to run riot in sov null, but which does not compensate the sovholding line members sufficiently, will see depopulation, after which nobody gets fights.
The job of sov-holding nullsec alliances in the new game is to be the content for attackers, who will probably tend to be NPC-space-
based (NPC null, lowsec, highsec NPSI etc) or wormhole forces. That is fine. The nature of a PvP game is that the end game content is
other players, and CCP relies on sov-holders to provide that content to others and to each other.
But it is vital for the health of the game that there are sufficient sheep to feed all the wolves. If the game gives more advantages to
the attackers then the rewards for putting up with the resulting harassment have to increase dramatically. People have to believe that it is really worth the candle.
Manny also raised the same question that has occurred to a lot
of people: why hold sov when constant troll timers will be being generated by the likes of our Reavers, EG or the like?
I have often suggested that missions should be available in sov null, because they force people to travel and provide things in space to
shoot at, while providing scaleable income for a dense population. I have picked up from comments by Fozzie that he is not keen on that
idea, and wants to keep those lucrative rewards in NPC null and lowsec. In that case, it would be a simple change to increase the
number of anoms that spawn in a system with an upgraded hub to allow easily-tweaked maximum population density.
The key thing is that, in order to defend in this new system, you will need a certain player density: you need to have enough people
nearby who are able and willing to drop everything in order to see off the multiple harassment fleets running around. That means a
certain number of players within your staging system and very close nearby.
But if the game does not support that density then the floor on the minimum viable population density is *above* the ceiling on the
maximum supportable economic density. That would see sov space empty. You might not want to see sov space any richer, but you have to bring people closer.
Boosting the anoms per system through the iHub would not provide more money overall in sov nullsec – and certainly nothing to match NPC systems like N5Y in ISK/Hour – but it would allow for smaller footprints and populations dense enough not to feel they need more allies to act as buffers.