Structures

All Your Base Are Belong to Fozziesov

 
I have been grinding sov for the last several days on Duality with my sov mining laser. I have been trying to catch a glimpse of the real nature of Fozziesov through the mess. This is what I have found from participating in the contest.

The Test Server Is Awful

The nature of test server combat has made the competition farcical. Everything costs 100 ISK, losses mean nothing, and even someone out of ISK can quickly fill their wallet with insurance fraud. Test server tactics involve high grade implants and suiciding wave after wave of ships. You reship as hard as you can and the winner is often the guy with the most endurance. I was fighting a few guys over a system and they were suiciding a constant flow of trollceptors across the constellation. They died quickly enough, but the process of chasing them around was painful. It would have cost them billions of ISK on Tranquility. I somehow do not think this kind of pure suicide thing, unsupported by any attempt to win the fight, is going to happen in practice. PL will not use Morachas as entosis ships. Brave will not have hundreds of Orthrus with T2 entosis mods to throw away. The test server is also a terrible environment because the indexes are set to arbitrary values. No one has to rat or mine to build up indexes. (They probably would not on the test server so I do not know what the solution is.) You cannot camp a system to bring its indexes down. Grinding space has been miserable, taking hours to capture undefended, unoccupied systems. Despite this, we do not have an accurate feeling for how much grinding will actually be required.

Apex Force

Slowcats, supers, and titans still win single point fights. They have not been nerfed. Subcaps have not been buffed to be able to kill capitals. What is happening is a reduction in the number of single point conflicts where an immobile wrecking ball wins the day. However there are still numerous single point conflicts: Reinforcing any sov structure for the first time occurs on one grid. Anchoring a new IHUB or TCU involves only that grid. A wrecking ball beats anything else on these grids. A small change is that wrecking balls will need some ability to kill entosis ships 250 KM off the object. This is likely going to mean that a wrecking ball will need triage carriers and at least a handful of heavily tanked, long-range BS. Dreadnoughts may have the range, but tracking a five klick cruiser is going to be next to impossible for them. A wrecking ball that cannot kill faraway entosis ships will be reduced to impotence no matter how many titans are in the blob. It is important to acknowledge that a conflict over a wide area can be turned into a single point conflict by hellcamping someone’s undock. We have repeatedly resorted to this strategy, and it has worked. Reserves in other stations can be used, and multiple entities may each have their own staging system, but a hellcamp just sucks for the defenders and makes the attackers lives so much simpler.

Multiple Points of Contention

These fights require mobile subcapital fleets to win. They have an interesting aspect to them. It is best to have the biggest fleet you can and send one ship to every node. However the enemy could send two ships to every node to beat you at each location. In response you send three ships. Four are better than three, and so on. If you take this to its logical conclusion and spread out entirely, the enemy could pull all their guys into one place and beat your piecemeal fleet. There is no perfect ship distribution. You have to constantly respond to what the enemy is doing. This will require decentralized command and control. It will demand individual pilot skill. There will be a place in the new system for skilled solo pilots, and for lower rank FCs.

Snipers

I wrote an article about snipers a bit ago. In practice it feels pretty accurate. Blowing away far entosis ships has got the job done repeatedly. Being able to explode fast faraway entosis ships is a virtual requirement of the new system. The only thing that has really changed is that probing snipers and landing a whole fleet on them is going to be harder with the warp changes.

Trollceptors

CCP was wrong to think entosis would happen after the fight was decided. Given that stuff is free on the test server, entosis ships are everywhere during all stages of a fight. It is the most effective strategy. Given the depth of 0.0 wallets, I am sure this practice will translate over, although with cheaper ships. We are likely to see roughly 3 types of ships. First will be T1 entosis travel ceptors. Next we are looking at cheap tanky T1 cruisers with T1 entosis. Both of these are roughly on par with the cost of a suicide dictor. There will be faction cruisers with T2 entosis configured to move very quickly. These will be a bit more situational. A key place you might see the later things are when it becomes time to stop a wrecking ball from taking an objective. We are likely to see this kind of thing being done on an alt while a main participates in the actual fight.

TileView

That Does Not Sound So Bad

I have just described a situation where a wrecking ball can be countered by one Orthrus (assuming you kill the ball’s subcapitals). I have described a situation with solo pilots and multiple FCs. It is a place where skill matters and we expect to see a proliferation of types of fleet doctrines. There is not just one best strategy. The system is dynamic in a way that “put as many titans on the field as you can” is not. There are many good points about the system. On paper it seems great, a triumph of design.

I Hate It

Yes all of these things are true. But the part that all of this misses out on, is the character of the system, how it feels. Fighting over sov will be difficult on a level not previously imagined. This does nothing to change the fact that boring your enemies and breaking their morale by killing their fleets is still a go to strategy. In fact weaponized boredom will be joined by weaponized frustration.  I have not been as angry at something in EVE as I have in this sov competition for a year or more, and this is the goddamned test server. The system is counterintuitive. Important information is kept away from players intentionally. Running an entosis module for an hour is unengaging, assuming you do not get exploded. It sucks to be the attacker and it sucks to be the defender. The mechanics actively encourage parties to troll each other mercilessly. This is not fun. Some of the awfulness may be a direct result of the test server. But I am not alone in disliking what I have experienced. Brave have a great deal to say about the situation as well. You know what? I agree with them.

A War of Attrition

The core gameplay, when you look deep into the system, is that attacking has a low barrier of entry, but fighting over a system is a battle of attrition. I call it a battle of attrition because there are always fairly effective ways to oppose the enemy in Fozziesov, except in cases of extreme power disparity. You can snipe entosis ships, form a concentrated blob to kill a detached part of the enemy, or any number of things to resist. You may find yourself slowly losing, but you can make life hell for the other guy and drag it out over a painful number of hours. Wars of attrition are not known for being glorious or particularly fun. Trench warfare was a battle of attrition. But since none of you were there probably, let me provide another example. It is called the dollar auction. The link provides a solid description. It is an auction for a dollar where the winner pays their bid and the runner up pays their bid. People bid up to a dollar, thinking they are getting a deal. But they realize as they get near a dollar, “If I lose this auction I am down $.99 (or whatever their losing bid was). If I win the auction by bidding $1.01 I get a dollar back, and I am out of $.01. I will bid over a $1.” Bids can get out of control, way beyond $1.The only winner of the dollar auction is the auctioneer. The players are all losers. That is the bottom line. You are all losers and I am glad that I live in NPC 0.0.

The Best Old Strategies

Ok that might be going a bit too far. There are mathematical solutions to the war of attrition but we do not even need them. To get good solutions we just look to previous sov war. In short, the way to win is to troll the enemy to death, now using all of the levers that Fozzie has provided. Beyond that the old ways of breaking morale, killing the enemy en masse, and discrediting opponents are all great strategies that survive the transition into Fozziesov just fine. Being the attacker sucks. Being the defender is awful. Being the troll is a pretty good times.
Tags: Fozziesov, Mukk, sovereignity, test server

About the author

Mukk Barovian

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

  • NotenoughInfo

    Another rousing article from Mukk….

    So you base your outlook on what you openly admit is a bad testing environment. Then (like it’s some kind of icing on a cake) you reference BNI. BN fricking I who can’t even take care of themselves let alone current or future sov mechanics.

    Does the system need tweaking? Yes
    Is it the shit mountain that you have so articulately described here? Not even close.

    How about looking into it more as how you think it will apply to TQ and actually talk to people who know what they’re doing. You know CFC, PL and others.

    • Forlorn Wongraven

      You may check who Mukk is. Especially the alliance ticker.

    • Ryu

      good job man, you discredit one of the most active PL UStz FC’s for the past 2 years.

    • elnator

      Been on Duality… played with this shitshow…. it’s not ready. It’s got potential… but it’s nowhere NEAR ready. And, as it stands, it is NOT better than what we currently have… it’s worse… a lot worse. It CAN be better but I doubt CCP will take the time to tweak it and get it right.

    • Ming Tso

      You are talking to someone who knows what they’re doing. Shut the fuck up and listen.

    • get. out.

      holy shit, you dumb fuck.

  • Thanks for the write up Mukk. Sorry to hear that FozzieSov doesn’t seem to be living up to it’s potential. Good games tend to force a conclusion once the outcome is clear: it’s easier to win once you start winning. It sounds like the current FozzieSov needs some of that: once it’s clear that one side isn’t going to win it shouldn’t be possible for that side to stop the other side winning indefinitely.

  • Jathen Codexus

    So, does a titan, carrier or battleship fleet with a couple celestis to keep the kiters from locking the target not keep the trolling to a minimum?

    • this is guna be funz

      You still have to sit there for half a day, Wherever they go. Everyday. Think about that for a second.

      • Jathen Codexus

        Don’t get me wrong, It’s nothing like a perfect situation, but to me it opens up more gameplay. I would make a group that gets paid to do system-defense efforts, with fits designed to catch trolls like that, similarly to how I had some pilots who got paid to scan down all our sigs each day when I had a wh corp. When there is a monotonous job to be done, you give people a individual reason to do it and then try to have as much fun as possible in the execution. I, for one, will enjoy coming up with ways of chasing off people like that. For instance, if a kiter is giving trouble, drop a microjump unit, wait for him to assume a predictable orbit, then jump a minnie recon on them and web them down….and then get a sabre out there so you can get the pod and send them back from whence they came…

  • Foxstar Damaskeenus

    So trolls will like it? I can see how this will be very popular.

  • Viince_Snetterton

    So…..PCU is at 5 year lows since the clown from Wisconsin pulled his minions to a different game,waiting for the new sov mechanics. What happens if is as bad as you predict? Do the cartels bring their players back online and hammer away at whomever, or do they stay out of the game?

    Frankly, I would enjoy the screams of terror coming out of Iceland if there is not a spike in PCU after the release of these mechanics.

    • AFK

      There will be a initial spike, just for the novelty value. But since the old issue remains of “sov not being fun” it will continue to fizzle out and go down. What the game needs is some new concept besides sov to bring fresh life into it. Apocrypha 2.0.

      • Viince_Snetterton

        It needs some fresh game designers for those fresh concepts.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Unfortunately CCP has created an environment over the years which favours sufficiently organised mass-movements who are willing to wield weaponised boredom in a fight. CCP have long since been vulnerable to such groups collectively deciding that they don’t like the way “their” game is changed and go elsewhere. The question isn’t anymore “How can we retain those people?” because catering to their interests and preferences only pushes things further down that slippery slope. The question for the second decade of EVE is how to engage new players when (not if) major groups collectively leave the game.

  • Druik Arbosa

    I have one question, and this something that is related to a point Grath mentioned in Crossing Zebras podcast 56.
    Sensor Damping and ECM would create serious difficulty for any aggressor trying to push forward the Entosis cycle, what are your thoughts on EWAR being a factor in these fights?

    • MukkBarovian

      Ewar is a factor, and able to break subcapital entosis cycles. But if you switch your Falcon out for a Tornado you can also stop subcapital entosis cycles in a slightly more permanent manner.

      A lot of the things you are going to see running entosis are going to be ewar immune, or outside of the range of your ewar.

      • Druik Arbosa

        This is where I do the ill advised thing and argue that a falcon is not what I would put onto the field, Celestis’ and Blackbirds with their range bonuses make more sense to me, not to mention a lot cheaper and therefore you can deploy more of them.
        That said you are absolutely right in that a Tornado would deal with the issue permanently, but tornadoes need to track the target, Ewar only needs to be within range.
        Yes, the test server is not giving a good impression, and yes, sticking an Entosis onto a Super Capital is going to be broken .
        But maybe this will be mean Super Capital ship lose their EWAR immunity.

        • MukkBarovian

          Tornado will not track an inty, but you cannot fit a T2 entosis link to an inty, or at least I have not seen it done yet.

          Tornado or one of the other ABC should be able to track most ranged things that have fit a T2 entosis link and gone nano.

          • Druik Arbosa

            If it was one ship running the Entosis cycle, I would agree, but, if it was a few ships running the cycle, with multiple other nano ships running defence, sniping ABC would need support, wouldn’t that encourage balanced fleet comp?

            I mean, I do think it should encourage that, up to the point where Caps and Super Caps are deployed and that is where fleet balance kinda goes out the window, which to me, is the same as before.

  • AFK

    In the sandbox, efficiency and fun are mutually exclusive. Sov itself is a flawed game idea to begin with. Hard to blame CCP really, they are trying their best to design into player who demand both fun and efficiency, even though such a thing is unattainable.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    From the tests we’ve been doing I heartily agree with this article. I’ve also never seen so many drive-by doomsdays – PL especially are having a giggle dropping all of their shiniest ships everywhere, for everything.

  • bored & anoyed fast

    Completely agree that the new system needs to be developed more before being released to Tranquility. The Entosis module cycle times are way too long and forcing people to have to endure this new type of grind every day ( sometimes under TiDi) is going to piss people off a hell of alot more so than the current system. Eventually when the new structures are added, it will be even more worse than how it currently looks. CCP need to address this now before going live on TQ & pissing everyone off. This type of factional warfare style meets sov game play is not everyone’s idea of fun & allot people will soon discover that, once they get to play it. It gets old very very quickly.

  • PB J

    This is probably the single best piece of test feedback I have read about eve. Really great post m8. Do you have any thoughts about how to improve the system? I would love to see a follow-up post