Meanwhile, the average sov-held null-sec system will be completely empty.
This stands in direct contradiction to a region like Syndicate which nobody owns... and yet Syndicate-dwellers control and live in their systems far more than virtually any null-sec entity does today. Ten months ago, I published a little Syndicate "sov map". Since then, John Revenant of I-RED has been keeping it up to date much better than I could do so. It's only a touch out of date: a week or so back, Flying Dangerous (FIGL) moved out of Syndicate for Curse.(1) But other than that, each group in this faux sov map holds those systems far more forcefully than pretty much any actual sov-holding group. Where a typical sov-held null-sec system is empty, you can find fights in Syndicate at all hours of the day and night.
So how to change that for null-sec sov?
I've been giving it some thought, and I keep coming back to a "tug of war" style arrangement. I first wrote about this more than a year ago, and I thought I'd take a few minutes to write up a somewhat more formalized version of it for EVE. Here goes.
First thing: the SBU mechanic goes away. Nobody likes them except as a source of fights (which I'll be replacing in a moment) and as a game mechanic, they make no freakin' logical sense whatsoever. Infrastructure Hubs can stay. Stations can also stay, but there will be no more shooting at them until they become destructible, at which point their current timer mechanic comes back. Shooting at a space station to flip its ownership also makes absolutely no freakin' logical sense whatsoever. Shooting at station services to disable them will stay, and the mechanic will be expanded to NPC stations as well.
The SBU art model and statistics get reused as a Station Control Module. All current SBUs are converted to SCMs.
Each system in 0.0 -- including NPC 0.0 systems -- is tracked based on "ownership" ratings. Up to five alliances or NPC corps will be represented. The list will be made up of the five alliances that most recently had an impact on the ownership of that system. Each of these five entities will be graded from 0% to 100%, with a total no higher than 100%. The entity with the highest ownership rating in a given system is termed as owning the system. If two entities tie, the one that most recently changed their ownership number is deemed the owner. If something happens to change the ownership of a system and total system ownership is not yet at 100%, the percentage change is added to the entity that caused the change. If something happens to change the ownership of a system and total system ownership is already at 100%, the percentage gained by one potential owner is taken from either the current owner of the system, or the second-place owner of the system if it is the owner of the system that makes the change.
When the system is launched, ownership will be set as follows:
- NPC 0.0 systems: 100% ownership by the NPC entity that traditionally owns that system.
- Sov 0.0 systems at level 5: 100% ownership given to the player alliance that owns that system.
- Sov 0.0 systems at level 4: 90% ownership given to the player alliance that owns that system.
- Sov 0.0 systems at level 3: 80% ownership given to the player alliance that owns that system.
- Sov 0.0 systems at level 2: 70% ownership given to the player alliance that owns that system.
- Sov 0.0 systems at level 1: 60% ownership given to the player alliance that owns that system.
Before the system goes into effect, all player alliances owning a station will be required to anchor a Station Control Module at the Infrastructure Hub. And NPC Infrastructure Hub and NPC Station Control Modules will be anchored in NPC 0.0 systems.
Higher percentage ownership of a system will confer bonuses. The exact bonuses and where those bonuses are conferred, I leave an an exercise for the student. Sample bonuses:
- The Infrastructure Hub becomes invulnerable (recommended at 80% ownership);
- cheaper POS fuel in the system;
- cheaper (or free) station repairs;
- cheaper (or free) station manufacturing and research;
- cheaper (or free) cloning;
- cheaper purchase of goods at LP stores (for NPC stations with agents);
- ability to cyno-jam a system;
- notification of when POSes are anchored in a system;
- bonuses to DUST 514 mercenaries in system;
- orbital strike bonuses of some sort;
Taking owernship of a system is done in four ways:
- completing ownership sites within that system;
- destroying a vulnerable Infrastructure Hub in a system;
- destroying a vulnerable Station Control Module in a system; and,
- taking control of DUST 514 districts.
Ownership sites will spawn in each system three per day at random intervals throughout the day. Some will be public beacons that don't need to be scanned. Some will spawn at the Infrastructure Hub. And some will be locations that have to be scanned down. The exact nature of the ownership sites, I again leave an exercise for the student. However, sites will be classified as "passive" and "active". Some sample ownership sites could be the following:
- Pirate invasion site (active): a fleet must be brought in to destroy a pirate base.
- Pirate invasion fleet (active): a pirate fleet is moving through the system and must be destroyed.
- Station Control Module refueling (passive): an NPC Orca will un-dock from a station and warp an SCM, and must be defended for a period of time.
- Infrastructure Hub refueling (active): the I-Hub must be supplied with a large quantity of some sort of fuel spaced out over a period of time.
- Territorial claim site (passive): a CONCORD battleship is moving through the system. A claimant ship must orbit the CONCORD battleship at 10000m for 15 minutes and all competing claimants must be pushed away.
- Mining site (passive): an NPC mining fleet is operating in the system and must be defended.
- Mining site (active): a location in the system must be supplied with a large quantity of ore spaced out over a period of time.
- Exploration site (passive): a Talocan artifact has been detected in the system. It must be scanned down, recovered, and returned to the Infrastructure Hub.
That's it. Those are the rules. Some examples:
- Goonswarm owns VFK-IV at a 93% level. A pirate invasion site spawns. A Goonswarm fleet completes the site. Goonswarm now owns VFK-IV at 96%.
- Later that day, a scrub alliance completes an ownership site in VFK. They take 3% ownership, making total ownership of that system 99%.
- The next day, Goons run another site in VFK, making their ownership 99%, and reducing the scrub alliance's ownership to 1%. Later that day, their DUST mercenaries take control of three planetary districts, pushing Goon ownership to 100%. It can go no higher.
- The Sansha's Nation owns FV-SE8 at 56% level. A passive mining site spawns. No player completes the site. As an NPC organization Sansha's Nation gets credit for the passive site; they now own FV-SE8 at 59%.
- Some weeks later, the Sansha's Nation owns FV-SE8 at 72%. Over a period of several days, a player alliance completes enough sites to take 49% ownership of FV-SE8. They complete another site, making their ownership 52%. Sansha's ownership drops to 48%. At that point, FV-SE8 transfers to their control, along with the Station Control Module for the single station in system, which becomes invulnerable. They may lock other players out of that station. The player alliance celebrates, then goes to bed. However, that evening, a passive territorial claim site spawns and the players do not run it. Sansha's ownership increases to 51% and the player entity ownership drops to 49%. The station unlocks and the SCM becomes vulnerable again.
- -A- owns UX3-N2 at 32% level. However, there have been no -A- ships there running sites in several weeks. Four other player alliances fight over the system, gaining an average of 12% ownership each. The second-place owner has 14% ownership. A fifth player alliance enters the fray, completes a site, and gains 3% ownership of the system. -A- loses all ownership of the system and total system ownership drops to 51%, still split five ways. The new owning alliance, however, has only 14% control of the system.
I think the system has a lot of advantages: it's simple to understand, broadens the potential audience for sov fights to even very small entities, and forces entities to live in the systems that they supposedly own. If a player entity doesn't frequently run sites in a system, sooner or later the control they have of a system will decay. This decay will happen particularly quickly in NPC systems. If the site spawns are set such that one passive site spawns per day, NPC systems will decay to their NPC owners at a rate of 3% per day with no player intervention. Making more spawns passive will increase this rate of decay.
It also opens system owners to griefing at a variety of levels. Five alliances working together to run five sites in a row, giving one site to each participating alliance, can strip even a 100% system owner of their rights in only two days (by bumping them off the "five most recent" list). This will force at least some of the owning alliance back home to defend their rights at least once every other day, or maintain some sort of home defense force to rapidly complete ownership sites when they spawn. A player entity that actually chooses to live in a far-flung part of space can rapidly whittle system ownership below the 50% needed to obtain docking rights, then use those docking rights to make a massive nuisance of themselves.
Still, particularly large powerful entities can maintain a high level of control: they can quickly use overwhelming force destroy I-HUBs and SCMs, kill station services, and flip system ownership as much as 20% or more in a single day if they're willing to use scorched earth tactics to do it and they have DUST 514 mercenaries backing them up. That can very rapidly make life untenable for a griefer that can't match this level of overt force. A guerrilla force can be an annoyance, but they'll have a hard time taking control from a very powerful foe. Yet they can still be a nuisance by constantly keeping system ownership below high ownership levels that confer the best bonuses. Powerful alliances can even push potential invaders out of nearby NPC space if they're willing to work hard enough at it.
But less aggressive alliances that aren't willing to come out to defend their rights will slowly lose them.
Best of all, I think this would open sov to a lot of groups that would find it impossible to hold sov today. In particular, small groups would have a pretty easy time finding out-of-the-way systems to set up shop in and take control of. If you're TEST, even with 10000 members, do you have the numbers to clear more than 600 ownership sites per day? And even if you did, how long would your members be able to keep it up? No, even the biggest alliances would quickly consolidate down to space they could maintain ownership of.
- All 0.0 systems (including NPC 0.0 systems) have an ownership percentage; there can be up to five owners for a given system.
- Increase ownership by running "ownership sites" in a system, some PvE, some PvP, some industry, some mining, or by shooting structures, or by taking control of DUST 514 planetary districts.
- Ownership of 51% or more in a system gives you the ability to lock docking rights for all stations in that system.
- Higher ownership than that confers additional bonuses (cheap clones, cheap repairs, et cetera).
- NPC systems would naturally decay back to their traditional owners if you don't frequently run sites.
- Alternately, ownership would be challenged by other player alliances running sites.
Anyway, that's the proposal. What do you think?
(1) And given how things are going for them there, I expect them to move back shortly. What's happening to them is why you'll likely never see Rote Kapelle move to Curse unless things change markedly in that region.