‘Eve Online: Deployables’ Isn’t Enough

 

The ever-revolving Eve player Rage-O-Thon(TM) is circling back towards sovereignty mechanics once again so it’s time for Forlorn to make a few suggestions on how it could be fixed

The weekend’s biggest story in EVE Online was, without a doubt, the large capital engagement between N3/PL and DTF/CFC. Just a few hours prior to the engagement, a joint announcement was issued on CFC and PL forums, as well as TheMittani.com, regarding the future of OTEC and the B0TLRD Accords. These two news pieces would seem to be at odds with each other; together, they demonstrate a fatal flaw in nullsec today. The largest drivers of nullsec content have agreed to abstain from going into full war against each other, even when there are not many entities left to fight against. The blue doughnut will continue to exist. Why? Because sovereignty warfare is broken.

In late January 2010, the first war of the newly introduced Dominion sovereignty system escalated in D-GTMI, led by the former AAA leader and FC Manfred Sidious. Due to the possibility to “alarm clock” large numbers of pod pilots (courtesy of the new timer system), sov war combatants could now maximize the number of allied pilots in a contested system. Before TiDi was released, that meant the force that could get their fleets in the target system first had a substantial advantage. On the day of the final timer of D-GTMI, the defending Providence holders jumped their ~150 capital fleet in deep safes, extracted them, then jumped back in at point blank range with a local count of 1700 and… black screen… dead capitals.

Four years later and three jumps away, history repeated itself Saturday. Again led by Manfred Sidious (now Pandemic Legion’s campaign commander), a large amount of hostile dreadnoughts were killed in HED-GP without being able to fire back. I was stuck in the jump tunnel animation for 4h and 15min before I loaded grid. Luckily my side was winning and my passive fit Aeon never was in real danger, so I could add my DPS to shred another 35 hostile dreadnoughts. Although CCP has worked on the server hardware, software solutions, and optimisations like TiDi, it was clear that sooner or later the large nullsec blocs would break the limit of EVE server nodes. Since 2010, most of the large scale engagements that brought media attention to EVE, which in turn brought new subscribers, were sovereignty timers. With swelling numbers in nullsec, however, we have once again reached a level that shows the main feature of nullsec as unplayable for a large amount of new pilots and veterans.

Which brings us back to the problem in nullsec: the Dominion sovereignty system. The core fundamentals of the system have not been touched for four years now, despite being introduced as the ‘first iteration’ of a new sovereignty mechanic. Unfortunately, further iteration on the system never came to be. Some alliances formed large coalitions to meet the need for high, consistent sub-cap numbers to successfully engage in sovereignty warfare; others invested in large numbers of supercapitals. While both tactics are very different, they share the same basic idea: structures with an absurd amount of hitpoints need a high amount of DPS to kill, especially when there are many timers and many opportunities to stop attackers.

In early 2013, after constantly grinding structures in the southern hemisphere of EVE for nearly two years, Pandemic Legion FC Shadoo posted a very controversial idea about how to force CCP to touch sovereignty again: wargames. The expanded OTEC agreement is nothing other than a cartel on sovereignty space, and is the next step of Shadoo’s original idea: avoid sovereignty warfare at all costs. Don’t force 1000+ sub-cap pilots or 100+ capitals into structure ops, allowing gudfights and tactics! Don’t melt EVE nodes on a daily basis! Don’t force people to sit in front of their PCs for 8 hours…

There are some good, and even more bad, ideas on how to fix sovereignty in nullsec. At this point many EVE nullsec grunts and leaders just want to have a new system – it doesn’t have to be a perfect system from the start. Factional Warfare seems to be in good shape, and CCP spent a year of development time there. I would gladly accept the trials and tribulations of a new system if CCP would only develop one, and commit to tweaking it for a year. Every time a large battle like HED-GP happens we see that, despite all of CCP’s iterations and fixes for various legacy features of the game, the single most outstanding feature in the sandbox is still broken.

CCP’s future vision is very vague and probably does not include a new sovereignty system. Past Councils of Stellar Management had been very active advocates for a nullsec revamp. This year, however, CCP was not even interested enough in the topic to hold a session regarding nullsec during the last Summer Summit. I hope that this topic will be touched in the upcoming Winter Summit. At least my CSM, Sala Cameron, was of some assistance to my colleague HVAC Repairman, who just wanted HED-GP to be over. Unfortunately not every problem can be solved by a Doomsday!

Tags: deployables, forlorn, PL, sov, sovereignty

About the author

Forlorn Wongraven

PL pilot, 2013 alliance tournament winner and Eve financier extraordinaire, what Forlorn doesn't know about Eve probably isn't worth knowing

  • Poetic Stanziel

    Brain in Box will only allow people to get into the node quicker. It does nothing to solve lag on the node. That’s TiDi and it can only go so far.

    Even if CCP makes a few adjustments, again it can only go so far to supporting large battles.

    How do you solve lag? By creating mechanics that spread battles across several systems. The following is my idea. It still needs fleshing out, but I feel it is moving in the right direction.

    ———————

    Instead of sov being focused at the system level, it should be focused at the constellation level. iHub-type structures should be spread out over a constellation. Systems aren’t taken, but constellations are. And the iHubs have to come down across a constellation within a similar time frame.

    This would spread out battles across multiple systems (and hopefully multiple nodes), which would help to reduce the effects of lag and TiDi. Instead of 3000+ people in a single system, you’d have 3000 people across a constellation. Every system in a constellation would have to be mapped to different nodes, of course.

    The problem is too many people in single systems. You want to spread people out without implementing artificial caps. And moving sov to a constellation level would/should accomplish this.

    Yeah, it would take more coordination, but the large nullsec blocs are capable of that sort of organization.

    ——————————-

    Obviously the fleshing out part would involve not incentivising the defender from just piling into a single system to protect a single constellation iHub. One idea I’m floating would be all constellation iHub strengths are based on all iHubs being active. If one iHub goes down, the strength/HP of the rest drops by some percentage (1/N+1, where N = number of systems/iHubs in the constellation). Thus, there is incentive to defend all iHubs, just as there is incentive to attack them all.

    Anyhow, still needs more fleshing out … but game mechanics that encourage battles to spread across a constellation seems like the only way to ensure that large battles can happen, but that they don’t happen in a single system. As battles and coalitions get larger, CCPs servers can’t keep up. This gives increased longevity to the game.

    • xanderphoena

      Hellfire Poe, the article has literally been up less than 2 minutes. You’ve read it and posted this response in that time?

      • Poetic Stanziel

        I type fast.

        No. This was something I wrote for a recent The Mittani article. A comment. I just cut and paste it over here. It’s actually getting some good comments on the TMdC article.

        I think the idea is sound and worth discussing, deliberating on further.

    • Gavin

      IMO the goal you describe (make a sov fight an event that isn’t all in one system) is the right goal. Your solution has an obvious problem which you patch by added the rule about when one IHub goes down it weakens all the others. This rule is needed to make the defender defend all IHubs.

      The problem is that your new rule will cause the attacker to attack the IHubs sequentially. If you have to take down 6 IHubs in the constellation, why take down 6 100% strength IHubs simultaneously, just focus fire and take them down 1 after the other. The first will be a full 100% strength IHub, the second will be weaker, the 3rd even more weaker.

      • Poetic Stanziel

        All the iHubs have to be taken down within a similar timeframe. Moving system to system wouldn’t work. It would take too long. Or they all have to be under attack at the same time. Some mechanic that forces attackers to be present (in numbers) in each of the constellation systems.

  • HVAC Repairman

    It’s not just the need for high DPS, it’s also the need for the ability to cover all three major timezones. Also props to Sala for euthanizing me on request to get out of that relatively early 😛

  • Graic Gabtar

    Don’t try to have this discussion on EVE-O forums. As usual the rent-a-cops are going full retard locking every thread in pursuit of damage control.

    The status quo is strong with this issue.