I've been thinking about an article in TheMittani.Com that CSM 8 hopeful Mynnna wrote regarding the discussion around lowering the ranges of jump drives of capital ships. In it he describes the scenarios of living in null sec that require jump drives and the end results:
At this point, I'm sure many readers would like to point out that I'm OBVIOUSLY cherry-picking regions to make a point. They'd be half right - I am trying to make a point. The point is that even today, with the supposedly "excessively long" jump ranges there are many areas of space which can be cut off logistically from Empire by their neighbors. As a result, anyone living in those areas has a couple of choices. They can suck it up and try anyway, hoping they don't get ganked, or that they're able to defend their midpoints against the hostiles surrounding them. Or, they can blue up to guarantee safe passage, which rather defeats their reason to be there in the first place.
I could continue clockwise through regions such as Cache, Detorid, Omist, and Feythabolis, but I think the point is made. Logistical concerns alone already encourage groups to either control far reaching chunks of space to guarantee supply lines, or make nice with those who are closer to Empire, and nerfs to Jump Drive range would only exacerbate this problem. Small groups may well thrive, as they do now, but they won't be alone. After all, what is a power bloc but a grouping of smaller entities?And on the other side of logistical concerns, warships:
How about those warships I said we'd come back to? People argue that big nullsec groups can effortlessly move across their own space in just a single jump or two, trivializing its defense, and have no problems with making trips across Eve, for they know that they can make it back before an attacker can do serious damage. Admittedly, they're correct about that - with proper preparation, moving capital forces around is relatively straightforward. Their natural conclusion is the same as before - if only the jump range were shorter, holding space would be harder and smaller groups could compete!
It should be obvious that I disagree with this idea as well. Forcing our capital forces to make another jump or two to move around our space won't dissuade us from holding more space. We'll simply spend the extra resources and move on with our lives. Likewise, a jump drive range nerf won't dissuade someone like Pandemic Legion, famed for their ability to rapidly move capital forces across Eve. Their recent move to Uemon would have required at least six jumps from Fountain. A similar move to X-7OMU in Pure Blind for a notional CFC vs HBC war scenario is at least five jumps, while a trip to Curse to wage war on the nearby residents would take eight or more. Nerfing JDC to 15% per level would increase those numbers to nine, six and ten, respectively, and change little. A few extra accounts for more cyno alts, more prepositioned fuel stocks, all things that PL can afford. But a smaller group? They're hard pressed to do it already, and those extra accounts are a deal breaker. Making it harder to defend their own space or strike against neighbors does them no favors, either.And to his conclusion.
Even now, the geography of Eve can make logistics difficult to those attempting to go it alone. The threat of "nyncing" alone means hostile neighbors can cut you off, nevermind the challenges of defending a midpoint POS inside enemy territory. A reduced jump range as proposed by many only makes this more difficult. Meanwhile, the increased costs (whether by requiring more jumps, or increased cost per jump or both) do little to cramp the style of already large and organized groups while simultaneously placing a larger burden on the small groups the suggested changes are meant to help. While proponents of these changes are well meaning, they're also short sighted.Sorry for quoting so much, but its important to my point to make sure you, the reader, sees that its a well crafted and thought out response. Its hard to refute. Yet, its wrong.
Perhaps, in light of these facts, they should advocate for increased jump range instead.
I had to think a long time as to why or how it is wrong as his logic flows very nicely. Disregarding the logistical issue as I think people like me advocating lower jump ranges are not concerned about jump freighter range, I want to address two things.
He concludes that small jump ranges will encourage people to "blue up" their neighbours even more. I respond that when I look at the massive coalitions controlling space right now, can they blue up even more? Are there entities that live in deep non-NPC null sec and don't fall under the umbrella of a larger coalition? I'd like some examples please as I have my doubts.
Secondly, Mynnna spends a lot of time in the warships section of the article pointing out that shorter jump ranges won't impact the speed at which organized alliances can move their fleets, and this point I agree on. But that is not the point I think needs addressing. In December of 20101 I wrote a post titled Tactical Flexibility of Supercarriers which included this image:
|Wyvern jump range with JDC IV|
And I suspect this is why large alliances are so hesitant to use those super capital fleets: because they know their opponents have the same tactical flexibility.
If jump ranges of supercapitals were reduced dramatically, the power projection of capital fleets would be reduced and their tactical flexibility would be lowered while still maintaining most of their strategic influence. Yes, they would be able to cross space quickly with planning and organization, but their ability to stand on overwatch of a region or two would be hindered and might give small entities more opportunities to make use of dreadnoughts and carriers without immediate fear of super capital hotdrop.
And even reducing their jump ranges still does not address their main problem: the only counter to a supercapital fleet is another supercapital fleet. Asakai only continues to confirm this.
EDIT: I'm not saying that nerfing jump ranges is the surefire answer, but I think it should be on the table along with other ideas.
1 - Its sad that this issue has not been addressed in two years. No wonder we have a big blue donut.