This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

17 Jan 2014

TRS - To Hell with the SOV system!

In the last few weeks there have been a number of discussions about old and new issues that all gravitate towards the same thing in the end: The sovereignty system sucks.

Whether it's supercapital proliferation, people not undocking, drone assist, blobbing, force projection, cloaky campers, the complaints about the new deployables or reduced nullsec ratting income, no matter which discussion you follow, in the end they all come down to the underlying issues with the sovereignty mechanics. You repeatedly hear statements like "We need massive fleets (or supers) to grind structures and defend timers" or "You just need the ratting income to pay sov/rental bills." or "Without large coalitions it is just impossible to maintain enough sov." The large and small alliances who form the sovereignty blocks out in nullsec all sound like prisoners of their own success.

Just listen to the last podside podcast for an example of that discussion taking place between some nullsec guys and some wormholers with CSM Mike Azariah thrown in for some extra spice.

The wormholers and Mike have no trouble with the issues that plague the nullsec players, but the nullsec crowd sounds like they have a serious problem.

I know they do, I have been there myself.

Lucky for me, in my line of work, I actually got paid for services with ISK. Because of that, I didn't have to have three ISK grinding alts like many others. Alts which would have forced me to grind even more ISK and become even more risk averse because I have to PLEX as many of them as I can or end up spending stupid amounts of money on subscriptions. That was what I saw all around me in sov nullsec, and every time I read or hear something from nullsec players, things sound like they haven't really changed. If anything, they have become even worse.

From renters who are forced to turn into nullbears - whether they want to or not - because they can't pay their bills otherwise, to Goons who have to grind structures in bombers, nobody sounds like they are really having fun playing. At least not like I see the people in lowsec having fun, or what I hear and read from people in WH-Space. All that remains for the line grunt of the nullsec crowd is the warm and fuzzy feeling they get from being part of something big that is visible on the sov map and that gets headlines because of massive fights.

When I first got to nullsec, Dominon was still really fresh. A lot of people were happy about the change because it seemed like a welcome break from the endless POS grind that it had been before. By now, everyone feels more like having woken up with a hangover on the day after a long party. There's still a horrible grind and now the damn thing you have to grind down also costs crazy amounts of ISK while it does exactly nothing. At least a POS can be useful for stuff,. A TCU, an SBU or an IHUB are just space clutter and ISK sinks.

I think the only way out of this valley of tears (yeah there are tears, lots of them) is to throw out the sov system completely.

Faction Warfare showed me possibilities how this can work so much better. Nullsec could be even better than that (there really is no need for IHUBs at all if you ask me.) So instead of the current sovereignty system I would propose the following:

  • No more TCUs SBUs and all that bullshit. If you want to get your name on a system, you need to run the plexes there and clear them. Now PVE actually means something and you make ISK while you establish your claim, rather than having to pay for it, just like you get a reward in FW for doing the same. This way nobody can just put sov structures into systems they never come back to again. Space needs to be actually lived in and used. If other people rat out your plexes, your system can turn contested, again like in FW. A mechanic like the one used for incursions could be implemented there. Maybe even with a similarly escalating difficulty (and reward) for sites. Since you would need to prevent opponents from flipping the system this way, residents would have an actual reason to undock and defend their system against ninja ratters.
  • Outposts should be destructible, and if a system becomes contested anybody can build one. As long as a system is controlled by one alliance, only they can build an outpost. At the point where a system is contested, an existing outpost would be the only thing that needs to be destroyed to make sov drop. If there is no outpost, whoever clears the next plex after the system has entered contested mode gains ownership of the system after a certain grace period (maybe 24 hours?) where the system is neutral and can still be recovered.
  • Current IHUB upgrades should become station upgrades and/or outpost upgrades. If a system with only NPC stations switches ownership, the upgrades become inactive but they can be taken out of the station by anyone who is still docked there. If upgrades are installed in outposts, they can also be taken out and moved of course. Upgrades can only be installed by those who hold sovereignty in a system. Upgrades would also turn inactive in neutral systems.
  • Cynojammers and jumpbridges can of course only be put in place by those who hold sov. Because a system can flip more easily and without the need to grind through lots of timers, they also become more vulnerable. Force projection and jumpfreighter logistics become less of a default.  
  • Last but not least: Do away with CONCORD sov bills! What business does CONCORD have out there anyway? It's an agreement between the NPC Empires, not some nullsec property tax collecting agency. All the recent Rubicon lore implications actually would support such a move.

The way I see it, this would make the whole sov system much more simple and much cheaper with less unnecessary spreadsheet bureaucracy. It would reduce the need for alliances to expand their space beyond the level that they really need to cover the standard costs of playing EVE (i.e. losing ships and assets). With claimed territories becoming smaller, there would be room for more alliances out there. Coalitions can of course still be formed, but there would be more than just three of them and the diplomatic metagame will become more varied and diverse. There would also be more PVP with more varied opponents.

Taking over sov would no longer be something that can only be achieved by massive fleets or supercap blobs. Now the efforts of small groups of ninja ratters can have an effect too. Just like in WH-Space or in FW, such ratting fleets would also have to be prepared for PVP. That would be the well deserved end for the ridiculous levels of nullbearing and botting. Pure carebears can not survive in lowsec or WH-Space. They should not be able to survive in nullsec either. Because you don't need to grind ISK like crazy anymore just to pay for sov, all you earn can go directly into replacing ships and expanding your infrastructure. That also makes losing ships less of a problem, and the large alliance SRP systems would be less crucial as a means to get people to actually go out there and risk their ships.

By extension that would also solve the problem of cloaky camping. The main reason why cloaky campers are a problem is not because they can cyno in a fleet, but because their targets are not prepared for an attack. That is why - with the exception of farming corps who never make it very long - nobody in WH-Space or lowsec is really worried that much about being dropped. Sure, in WH-Space you can not drop a fleet of 500 guys with 20 capships on some ratters, but on the scale of their corps, they face a similar level of danger. In lowsec you can be dropped by fleets like that, and still nobody worries about cloaky campers. People do run sites in lowsec and WH Space, and they do mine, but they do it in an organized and well prepared way. Always ready to fight - or at least evade - intruders.

Sov warfare would become much less of a large scale mass brawl that crashes nodes. It would rather need a widespread effort by a larger number of smaller fleets to take over and then stabilize systems. Newbies can also still be meaningful in those fleets. Actually more so, because the value of smaller ships would be higher in such a system. With the exception of outposts, it would also mean the end of the stupid system of timers which delay progress and always favour one timezone over another if the warring parties do not happen to live in the same geographical region.

All of that would be a radical change, but so was Dominion. Especially, with the way how CCP are developing the meta-narrative since the Rubicon expansion, those changes would even be consistent with the backstory. Most importantly, it would reduce the amount of grind and make gameplay in nullsec more exciting and fun.

So why not do it?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. If you want to criticize this post, you are welcome to do so. Useless comments that do not even for a sentence will be removed, though.

  3. the problem with the fw model is that it straight up penalises the bigger ships. you can already see it now since you only very rarely get a BC and higher fight in fw-land nowaday , and even then its only either for a gf (wich happen more often i might admit) or for a bunker bash , wich in a very active warzone , happens once in a blue moon.

    if we translate this onto 0,0 sov mecanics, what would happen with all the battleships, carriers and dreadnaughts?

    1. I agree. Nullsec needs to be a step up. After all, it would be logical to go from the frigate/cruiser environment of lowsec to the more battleship/capital heavy environment of nullsec. The way how the system works could be adjusted for that. In a more recent thread on reddit people proposed that you should only be able to run sites which contribute to sov-status with a whole fleet rather than one Sentry Domi.

      I reckon that would do the trick.