Monday, March 25, 2013


In a post called "Nullsec Is Worth Saving" the prominent blogger Mord Fiddle put out an idea for saving nullsec:

Happily,nullsec can be saved. And the solutions is a fairly simple one that does not require major surgery.

1) Eliminate supercapitals - Remove them entirely. This class of ship, more than any other, is responsible for nullsec's current state. Without supercapital drops and bridges the area over which a nullsec alliance or coalition can project force will be significantly reduced as will the the speed with which they can react to threats. This will shrink the amount of space a nullsec entity can reasonably control.

2) Significantly reduce Sov infrastructure hit points so that a large subcapital fleet of barbarians with modest capital ship support can reduce it in a reasonable about of time. This will eliminate the need to have Titan-class firepower behind any play for a piece of nullsec.
Needless to say, this raised some eyebrows and comments including my own. With many people posing other possibilities to addressing super capitals without removing them entirely, Mord stood his ground and insisted that the most elegant and simple solution was removing them, leading to this exchange:

Mord Fiddle March 23, 2013 at 5:39 AM
@Chanina -

Elegance is not a function of complexity or nuance. An elegant solution is one that displays the qualities of unusual effectiveness and simplicity.
I believe the solution I've put forward meets that standard.

Kirith Kodachi March 23, 2013 at 8:33 AM
But CCP will never ever remove Supercaps. *shrugs*

Mord Fiddle March 23, 2013 at 8:42 AM
@Kirith -

If voices like yours advocate rolling over, and refuse to step up and advocate for what's good for the game, you're absolutely right.
 I was taken aback by that as I have *never* suggested we do not address the situation. I responded as such:
Kirith Kodachi March 23, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Now you're putting words in my mouth.
I never advocated for rolling over and refusing to advocate for what's good in the game. I've advocated for many unpopular positions over the years. However, I've tried to approach things with a realistic opinion of what CCP will and will not do. And from my opinion, and probably theirs, removing supercaps runs the potential of not only bad press but bad feelings with the players they consider "enablers"; the core of large null sec alliances whose influence extends far past their one/two/three/more accounts to all the people they fly with. We saw what happens with the Summer of Incarnage when the core of dedicated players stops logging in.
Also, fundamentally CCP does not remove things that are problematic in the game. Rightly or wrongly, they (and many players) would see that as a sign of surrender and weakness. Thus things get changed or new things get added to counter the problems. It is the pattern and I see no reason why they would deviate from it.
Thus, watching you tilt at windmills insisting that only removing supercaps will fix null sec and no other option is feasible is very frustrating; its a discussion that is pointless in having and I'm hoping to convince you to entertain other possibilities.

There ARE other ways to combat the problem without *completely* alienating the people with supercaps. I will continue to advocate for those ways and listen to other proposals and point out what I think will and will not work.
And my opinion is that simply removing the supercaps will not happen, and therefore will not work.
And Mord responded:
Mord FiddleMarch 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM
@Kirith -

"And from my opinion, and probably theirs, removing supercaps runs the potential of not only bad press but bad feelings with the players they consider 'enablers'".
Ah yes, the enablers. I recall them. That's the same lot that turned nullsec into a theme park after years of railing against the evils of EVE being turned into a theme park.
I notice those same "enablers" are pressing hard for Farms & Fields and Risk/Rewards (For the uninformed see last week's Farms and Fields: Metagame). But that's just them tilting at windmills, right? Crazy talk. I mean, it's not like CCP would ever break highsec just to make a bunch of "enablers" happy.
And yet there they are, heads down and battling to affect the change they want, regardless of how radical it is. It must be very frustrating to watch.
I'm open to less radical procedures. However, I haven't seen anything yet that will get the job done. It seems any nerf of supercapitals sufficient to drive meaningful change would offend the "enablers" as much as eliminating the class altogether.
A satisfactory alternative that leaves supercaps in the game is possible. However, any solution is going to require that someone besides the "enablers" stand up, raise their voices and demand change. Shrugs aren't going to make it happen.

Think of this as an opening position. My solution is quick, easy and effective. If CCP doesn't want to go that route they should find a solution to the supercap problem and and the resources to implement it.

So I decided to take my next part back to my blog. Mord has stated his "opening position": remove supercaps and balance the game around the new reality.

Even given the possibility that CCP would go that route (and rest assured, they never will) this merely move the problem from supercaps to plain old capitals. The ONLY thing that prevents large null sec alliances from fielding nothing but fleets of dreadnoughts supported by carriers is the threat of being hotdropped by supercaps! With the threat removed, Slowcats and their ilk will run wild with abandon with greater jump range than supercaps, lower cost to entry, easier to replace, and still virtually invulnerable to fleets of subcaps the same size.

In essence, Mord's solution is none at all!

But at least he has the grit to face the problem head on and be active about fixing null sec rather than being one of the people sitting around in supercapitals and complaining about the "stagnation" that they themselves have created and perpetuated. But that's a post for another day.

So in response to Mord's "opening position", I will propose my own radical solution to the supercap deadlock in null sec.

1) Reduce Jump Range Drastically

Something of a pet horse, I think that Titans and supercarriers should powerful... AND slow. Give them jump ranges such as that they can threaten the local constellation and maybe a bit next door, but not entire regions. This will cut down their tactical flexibility and allow smaller more mobile fleets to maneuver around them.

2) Take Jump Bridges from Titans

Make a new capital/supercapital class with virtually no combat ability but does (short ranged) jump bridges and has clone vat bays. Call it mothership, whatever, but divorce jump bridging from Titans. This will discourage the proliferation of Titans as they will not be dual-role.

3) Cut the Hitpoints - Drastically

Make it so that Supercarriers can take as well as twice to three times as much as a well tanked carrier, but no more. Make Titans only slightly above that. This will make them far more vulnerable to capitals allowing smaller alliances to have a weapon to use against them.

4) Deathstrike Class Subcaps!

Sadly, as I posted two years ago:
A super capital fleet in any normal reasonable situation cannot be countered by anything except another super capital fleet. This is mainly the cause of supercarriers and is due to huge effective hitpoint tanks, tactical flexibility due to jump drive, powerful DPS at all scales of combat due to drone capability, and special immunity to normal electronic warfare.
I went on to suggest a subcap ship with a weapon effective only against super caps and to a less extent capitals, but with devestating results. This would give a counter to super cap fleets in the hands of sub cap pilots.

5) Super Void Bombs

Currently Void bombs take away 1800 GJ of capacitor. Considering a Wyvern starts with 63750 GJ this weapon is nothing more than a light show. Change them to a percentage of cap neutralized, say... 75%? This would be crippling to cap fleets and subcap fleets and would be a viable weapon to countering them without taking much effort.

* * * * *

On a side note, I completely agree with Mord's point two which calls for drastically reducing hit points of structures in null sec. I understand the desire to give holders of territory a chance to respond to enemy incursions on their space in their own timezone but I think the pendulum has swung too far in favour of defenders.


  1. As I added to the comment thread over on Mord's site ( which hasn't been approved yet ) I agree that his suggestion is both right and horribly wrong at the same time. Sure it would make things more interesting, but in horrible ways!

    A - Balance Caps/Supers - Limit Titan bridges or remove them to another ship class. Reduce and balance HP, etc.

    B - Scale Sov - Like it was supposed to be with Dominion. Larger growth means larger costs. At some point it becomes impossible to maintain.

    C - Reduce HP on structures

    D - Give me a tool to hurt them. Whatever tool that happens to be, right now I have nothing. I promise to use it.

    E - Redistribute wealth. Duh.

    Nothing painful, nothing horrible.

    1. Anonymous10:04 am

      Regarding points C, D & E

      "Redistribing wealth" would be less of a problem if one of the ways you could hurt them was to steal their golden eggs out from under their golden geese.

      I think some variation on "activity gives sov" will be interesting. If you don't use your system then your sov level drops. As your sov level drops the HP on the various structures drop as well. I'm not even going to try come up with ideas of what exactly it means to "use a system" :)

    2. @Rixx - I think the current owners of nullsecDisney would regard most of these as both painful and horrible. And the only wealth distribution they seem interested in as that which accrues more wealth in their direction.

      Further, no ship class construction should be restricted to nullsec.

  2. "The ONLY thing that prevents large null sec alliances from fielding nothing but fleets of dreadnoughts supported by carriers is the threat of being hotdropped by supercaps! With the threat removed, Slowcats and their ilk will run wild with abandon with greater jump range than supercaps, lower cost to entry, easier to replace, and still virtually invulnerable to fleets of subcaps the same size.

    In essence, Mord's solution is none at all!"

    I would quite disagree. Conventional capital ships are tough ships, but are vulnerable to ewar, and a heavy interdictor isn't required to hold them in place. They can be killed with relative ease by subcap fleets so. (Hell, even I've gotten onto capital ship kills and I'm the second worse PVPer in all New Eden.) And capital ships cannot bridge.

    The lower cost of conventional capital ships means one doesn't have to be sitting on nullsec ISK faucets to afford them in meaningful numbers. The shorter training path to piloting one and the fact that the ships can be parked in station means that one doesn't need the overhead of dedicated cap ship toons in order to deploy them effectively.

    In short, the barbarian hordes I describe in my post can bring at least modest capital fleets to the fight.

    As to blobs, I would remiss if I didn't point out that your solution doesn't solve that problem either. The coalition solution to reduced supercapital utility is the same as the solution to supercapital extinction: capital ship blobs.

    The blob will always be with us, however the utility of capital blobs is much diminished relative to that of supercapital blobs.

    The barbarians can deal with capital blobs and afford to risk capital ships of their own in countering such blobs via enfilading attacks while the blob is occupied elsewhere. However, supercapitals are too costly to risk on such ventures unless backed by vast reserves of ISK and supercapital ship reserves.


  3. Forlorn Wongraven
    11:45 AM (1 hour ago)

    to kkodachi

    "I can't comment on your blog for technical reasons, but I want to.

    1) Reduce Jump Range Drastically

    Will not change a single thing, people have cyno alts everywhere. Most supercaps are ready to jump in cap fit before their invul breaks. Shortening their entry in a combat by 5 min real time doesn't solve anything in fights with TiDi.

    2) Take Jump Bridges from Titans

    Titans only kill undefended POS and DD random carriers that don't understand aggro mechanics. Their only purpose atm is bridging, remove that and you will never see a Titan again (which also means no titan killmails).

    3) Cut the Hitpoints - Drastically

    For a small gang HP seems way to overpowered, I saw so many supers die in less than a minute the last year, even full tank fit with bonuses applied. A well skilled sub cap fleet can kill a Titan in less than 5 minutes. The only problem is being prepared and most people are not.

    4) Deathstrike Class Subcaps!

    See 3, makes no sense at all.

    5) Super Void Bombs

    Not Void bombs (since the entry level is way too low), but capital neuts. That actually make cap warfare a thing for supers and caps. Atm in normal combat cap is never an issue unless you are in triage.


  4. Anonymous2:21 pm

    In regards to force projection, bridging titans suffer from the same flaw that off-grid boosting does. There's little to no risk associated with an enormous benefit.

    If instead of removing bridging, what if it were simply reversed. You would have to bridge TO a titan, instead of FROM it. This might be done by requiring a cyno at the entry point and the titan as the exit. Or you could still have a cyno scout at the exit point, the titan jumps through and leaves a rift so large that his fleet can follow through for a limited time (say a few minutes).

    Just like forcing on-grid boosting would make people take their T3s out of the pos bubble and risk something for the benefit they provide, making titans be the exit point for bridges would still allow for the mobility that makes them valuable, while creating an element of risk that's necessary to balance it out.

  5. Anonymous8:42 pm

    Let's start by removing ewar immunity from supercaps and let the chips fall where they may.

  6. Anonymous7:53 am

    Reduzing the jump range of supers would help to limit there offensive capabilities but still keeps there defensive role. Remove the Titanbridge and let players jump "with" the titan, like they are docked in it and can reship in it. Make them the mobile outpost to provide your troops with fast reship.

    The force projection still stays as a problem with capital ships as they jump in instant and the defender has almost no chance to prefent it. Spool up timers have been mention from some people and would help to adress this problem.
    If you want to jump in a Titan your cyno needs to live for 5 minutes. If it gets killed before, bad for you, make it better next time.

    Effect: Either you bring in your forces some jumps out or you have a decent fleet to support that cyno until your troops come in.

    The idea of bridging TO the titan sounds good too.