How Do I Live In Space?

Sovereignty is theoretically tied to living in space. However, the tie is a very flawed one. If you look at the indexes you will see the three ties. First is the Strategic Index. This has absolutely nothing to do with living in space. It’s a measure of how long one group has had its grubby hands on a particular system. They could elect to never ever do anything in that system, and still get credit for “living in their space” in the form of defensive timer bonuses. Next we have rat kills, the Military Index. Killing rats is surely a sign that the space is lived in, but it’s perverse in terms of incentives. A good player can make more ISK per hour doing a number of different activities in other parts of the game. That is not to say that a lot of ISK does not flow out of 0.0, but it’s a sub-par activity for someone looking to optimize their time. AFK drone boats make up a lot of the activity. The Industrial Index, which considers mining alone, is even worse. Once you get over a desire to hold sov because of egotistic reasons you’re left with a pretty simple question, “Do I want to rat or mine in that system? If I do not, I have no need of sovereignty.” This leads me to an interesting thought experiment, ‘Does Pandemic Legion live in our own space?’ By the current system, the answer is ‘no.’ The metrics the game currently uses, where we make money by ratting and mining, would claim that we live all over the place; wormhole space, highsec incursions, lvl 5 mission hubs. As far as the game is concerned, those of us who do production, lead pvp fleets, haul goods, and provide services, we do not live anywhere. That is ludicrous. We live in A-ELE2 at the time I write this, in Delve. The moongoos of the local regions pour through our wallets. The locals cower before our capital fleet, or at least we like to think they do. We PVP here, when there is PVP to be had. We manage POS everywhere, fight over the assets that exist in space, and maintain a market for our war machine. We also probe the area for wormholes relentlessly, looking for doors to content. I would argue that we dominate the local area and exploit the local 0.0 resources at hand as well as anybody. And we hold no sovereignty at all.
“…if you want us to care about sov, reward us for living in our space the way that we choose to live.”
One fix of course would be to change the content ISK ratios to bring back our wayward pilots so that they will rat and mine from wherever we choose to stage. That would be a lot of extra ISK or trade goods flowing into the system. The alternative is that if you want us to care about sov, reward us for living in our space the way that we choose to live. I come up with a few possible metrics. Some of these metrics may be better than others. Some of these metrics may deserve more weight than others. The index for mining goes up to 5. Arbitrarily you may feel that a POS index should cap at 2 and a PVP index should cap at 1. However in each case I believe it is possible to have metrics that are not overly gameable, that legitimately reflect player activity on a wide variety of subjects. These are examples.

Poses (Future Citadels)

These structures, the Citadels and other structures that are going to come, show a serious commitment to a particular area. Haulers have to bring in fuel. Fleets have to form to defend them. Why not credit sov holders for the labor of maintaining poses? Haulers with fuel can be ganked in route. The actual structures can be attacked and destroyed, which provides several vectors to reduce sov indexes. There is even a natural limit to the number of poses that can be put up. There are only so many moons in system. To limit POS spam I recommend that certain POS have more value than others. POS on high end moons could contribute many times more to the index than POS on empty moons. Or don’t credit an empty stick at all. A Citadel spending fuel on specific service rigs may have some decent level of value. Say whether the system has a market or not. Just don’t credit duplicate service modules.


Looking for things is one of the ways people live in space. There are some professions that never blow a thing up, but do probe. I propose that probing something out is an indication that you live in the space. A site should only count for being probed once. This also encourages people to run the sites and get new ones spawned.


Anybody can just suicide alts so killmails would not work as an indicator. That would just indicate a deep wallet. There are other ways of measuring PVP activity and dominance. I propose that an alliance that can keep the gates and stations bubbled (by bubbles that belong to them) is one that is dominant in PVP in the local area. We would have to set the criteria so that a bubble 300KM off the gate that is not in line with anything did not count. Maybe for a gate to count as bubbled the bubble would have to physically envelope the gate. This would force PVP to happen on occasion, when someone, a resident or a visitor, gets caught. Bubbles can be killed solo, so maintaining their presence indicates activity. Furthermore, an attacker looking to break the index could fly around blowing up bubbles. This puts something on the field that the defender could have a fight against. Many PVP groups that live in their space spend a lot of time gatecamping. The activity is entertaining to them. Furthermore big empires effectively garrison their borders to keep some of the sov trolls out. This is not a perfect PVP metric, but I feel that it illustrates that it is possible to gauge PVP activity to some degree. Throwing up your hands and saying that killing your alts invalidates any attempt to gauge PVP is weaksauce.


Fatigue itself is an indicator of residency. We jump into our staging system and take fatigue all the time. We jump into systems we care about and take fatigue to fight there. Do you want to know where the power blocks are actually living in space? Look at where they get fatigue. And fatigue is difficult to game because it increases exponentially. A cyno ship worth a million ISK or so is always risked, or in the case of a jump bridge, the ship coming through is not in an entirely safe location. Still, you would want to reward fatigue multiplied (or somehow modified) by the mass of the ship taking fatigue. You don’t want to reward a noobship or T1 frigate jumping back and forth across a jump bridge network.

A Tale of Two Systems

Imagine a system. It is the staging point of a massive active capital fleet. Jump freighter pilots keep the market stocked. Intruders find themselves jumping into bubbles and quickly killed. There are several R64s, and R32s, which are owned and operated. Fleets form and bridge from here, sometimes travelling through wormholes to reach distant destinations. The second system up for consideration has an AFK ratting Thanatos and a guy who likes to multibox some Procurers. Which system is more occupied in your mind?

Sovereignty’s Future

Sovereignty can either be the thing you need for your IHub so that you can rat and mine in 0.0, or it can be a dynamic measure of power and who is living locally. I favor the second option. Sovereignty that people care about, that they feel fairly assesses their playstyle, is good for the game. As soon as you decide that sov has no real value, you lose some of the suspension of disbelief for the game’s narrative.  
Tags: Aegis sov, indexes, Mukk, sovereignty

About the author

Mukk Barovian

Mukk is a long time skirmish FC with a penchant for overpropping his ships.

  • Diana Olympos

    While i agree that the current index are lacking a lot (btw CCP stated they are working on it) I’m really REALLY worried of these metrics. Let’s seek them one after the other.

    1) WOOT ? So owning R64 and R32 is what decide of the use of POS ? Well, compression array, jump bridge, safe POS, Reaction POS… I think you miss a lot of the POSsibility.
    By the way, how do you define an empty POS ?
    And about market… Well that’s not gameable… at all… nono… not at all.

    2) Probing : Probing is by definition a nomad activity. While your metric is interesting, i would like to know how you implement the different alliance probing index. And you complain about Ratting and mining, but in that aspect they are quite like probing.

    3) PvP. I’m interested that what defined PvP for you is the less PvP activity of all : ratting protected by bubbled gates… I would say that PvP mean that you have NO bubble in your space…

    4) Fatigue… So basically only reward with sov group that can make their pilot jump a bit everyday in Titan, Supers or Carriers… While it would be good and easy kills, that would also bring back the “without a tons of big assets, you can not even think of holding 2 systems, sorry boy. Now if you can pay us please.

    While i want to find some way to have better index, i think you need to think about side effects and how you can exploit them. Because most of your proposition are 1) nearly impossible to apply, 2) Super exploitable 3)Have lot of side effects.

    The only one i could agree with is probing, and even that need more thinking.

  • Skarr Tos

    Awesome Article Mukk

  • Somal Thunder

    Great ideas! They also open door to more sov incentives — a PVP alliance might get a reduced anchoring time on bubbles in systems where they have established their residence, and maybe even an increased radius at a certain milestone. They could get some fatigue reduction and other perks!

  • Interesting ideas. Thoughts off the top of my head: probing should only count when it’s YOUR probers doing the probing, not any random explorer (because for example, our guys are all over everywhere all the time and thanks to Thera, we’re not the only ones). “BUT MUH PROBE ALTS!!!” Too bad, so sad. Step up with an in-alliance prober.

    Regarding a PvP index: if it doesn’t already, server should have a way to determine self-destructs and not count those — or friendly fire kills — toward that index. How hard could it be? A pilot has to use a mechanic to self-destruct so that should be trackable. Friendly fire kills are easily discernible by examining the alliance ticker of engaged parties.

    Aside: as someone with no interest in sov, I don’t know why I find these posts so interesting!

  • X Gallentius

    Have CCP give out general statistics and then let the players come up with their own sov metric. There can be multiple metricx.

    Use current sov mechanic to get fights. Done.

    Think of it like Syria. Officially, Syria is one country and the world map (Official Sov defined by CCP). However, we know that different entities control different areas of the country (Maps on internet showing who controls what in Syria).

  • JZ909

    I think the issue is that CCP is trying to build a sov system around an economic model that hasn’t worked for quite some time, if it’s ever worked at all. If you don’t own moon goo POSs, it’s generally just not worth it to setup business in null. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, null is simply outclassed by just about everywhere else on the map.

    The problem is twofold: The rewards are too low, and the risk is too high. In my opinion, owning sov should help solve both of those problems. Then sov will be worth it. I think sov owners should be able to set the law, and be able to enforce it to some degree by automated means. You’re not a member of the sov-owning alliance, or +10 to them, and you drop a bubble? You’re now a flashy red criminal in that alliance’s territory and will be engaged by player built gate guns and player hired NPC security; maybe your death with also reward another player with a player funded bounty (with some safeguards against fraud of course). On the other side of the equation, you should be able to substantially upgrade industry and mining efficiency in a system, well beyond what is possible in highsec, and the sov owners should be able to decide who reaps the benefits of those upgrades. Finally, everything should be taxable, so if an alliance builds a great place to live, they are rewarded by always being able to afford shiny things.

  • Davis TetrisKing

    Some of the ideas you’ve mentioned I like, and some I dislike. The biggest problem with most is that they are very easily gameable by alts. To me the main metric of where I live is where I log-off the most often, but how you’d do this I have no idea, and it’s so easily gameable by having multiple accounts. I like the idea of including probing, do you make it only count once per sig or once per alliance? I don’t like the idea of making it based of POS/structures as I feel like indexes are supposed to happen as a result of ‘doing the thing’, not encourage people to ‘do thing thing’ to get indexes (even if the current systems does exactly that). On that same train of thought I don’t think direct PvP should count, but the result of ‘securing’ your space by pvping (or just denying opponents access) should be what counts for indexes.

    To throw in my own idea (everyone has one right?), personally I think activity metrics should be competitive. There should be no baseline as to what having ‘enough’ activity is, instead it should be based on what percentage of the total activites done in the area are done by the sov holder vs everyone else. That way if you live somewhere, as long as noone else is ratting/mining in your space, you won’t have to mindlessly rat/mine to keep up some baseline metrics just for the sake of it. If you don’t live in the area and someone wants to take it they can spend a bit of time in the system ratting and mining to bring down the sov indexes. If a system hasn’t been used by the sov holder for a week running a single anom should completely tank the indexes. If they eclipse the sov holders activity the indexes go way down and it becomes much easier to take the system.

    Basically hold sov by either using the system yourself, or denying anyone else use of the system. Or both.