Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sov Warfare: What Can Be Done?

So the last two posts discussed the problem briefly but let's state it clearly before we go on:

Current Sovereignty mechanics in null sec encourage entities to bring as many pilots/ships as possible to a single system and grid in order to attack or defend sovereignty structures. Conversely, there is no reason for an entity to not bring as many pilots/ships to a sovereignty structure fight as they can possibly manage.

In other words, you get an advantage if you have more ships on grid than the other guys (assuming similar compositions and hull size distribution) and there is no disadvantages to doing so. Adding to this dichotomy is the fact that all big sovereignty fights in null sec have big public timers announcing when they are going to occur so everyone can plan ahead time and call the relevant CTAs and get fleets across the cluster (seriously, screw jump bridges and titans), and further exacerbating things is that when the fight does happen, Time Dilation kicks in to a large degree allowing every entity that wants to pile in time to get to the fight to do so. It is a perfect storm recipe to almost ensure a node crash.

So what can be done to alleviate this problem? First and foremost, we need make sure we don't take off the table a complete ground-up rework of sovereignty (aka sov) mechanics. Any halfway measure runs a severe risk of making the system worse without alleviating the large battle issues. And make no mistake, we still want there to be large battles, just spread out across multiple systems so that multiple nodes can share the load and the exponential growth of calculations that occurs when everything is on one grid can be avoided.

With all that in mind, here is my humble proposal.

1) Screw Structure Shooting.

One of the best things I like about Faction Warfare is that system control is mostly determined about fighting for the system, not shooting structures. Yes, there is an iHub bash to flip the switch but most of the work is done in increments by pilots, in small groups or even individually, running down plexes to contest control in small increments.

In null sec, I think a similar mechanic could work well in conjunction with the money making rat plexes that they currently have; have control and contesting determined by whoever is completing those plexes in that system (perhaps some simple beacon in these plexes that have to be controlled). This allows pilots living in a system to assert control through normal isk making activities, it allows attacking forces to avoid a big structure shoot to exert pressure, and since increasing firepower does not increase the rate at which a plex is captured it encourages fleets to spread out rather than heavily concentrate.

Once the system becomes vulnerable, the iHub can be attacked as long as the vulnerable state remains. Make sure to lower the hitpoints on those iHubs too so we can avoid encouraging massive fleets for the shoot. Without a timer to defend and no repair fleet able to just repair the iHub (i.e. you have to run plexes to bring the contestation values down), a battle can evolve organically rather than artificially through timers. Additionally, the lack of timers allows both sides to think about when to launch their attack and avoid the "rumble in the street at midnight" factor.

2) Make Constellation Control More Important

I'm going to be radical here and suggest that all the benefits you get from currently having sov in a system (i.e. cyno jammers/beacons, jump bridges, etc) can only be used if your alliance controls the whole constellation. This encourages fights across multiple systems as enemies try to disrupt infrastructure or defend against invasions and it becomes a disadvantage to attack in a single spot where the enemy can organize defence without considerations of flanks and enfilades.

3) Nerf power projection

I'm not going to spend a lot on this topic yet again, but suffice it to say that as long as alliances can send massive fleets across the cluster so quickly to any location they pretty much desire then we are going to be faced with a host of problems, not the least of which is the massive tidi-inducing slugfests we are discussing today.

Incidentally, if we take my suggestion about number 2 of making Constellation Control the prerequisite for jump bridge endpoints, it helps to nerf power projection of major coalitions where alliances have single systems deep in their allies regions to make long integrated jump bridge networks.

* * * * *

And that's my rough back-of-the-napkin opening salvo, with the necessary caveats about how I have not been in null sec for the past two years and the problems we face now might be different than what was observed firsthand then. However, all indications suggest we need to do something to break this logjam and spread the fighting for control out.


  1. I k ow nothing of Sov but I to have been wondering why constatations are not more important.

  2. I don't know how much of this has been hashed through before and tacked in this manner but I like the idea of using FW mechanics for many if not all the reasons you mention. I frequently breeze through FW space and although I don't belong to a faction I'm more than happy to go those FW systems in search of PVP. I would be more than happy to do the same thing in Null. Helping to defend or contests systems in the manner you articulate here brings Sov warfare down to the Corp Level. You don't need 1000+ man fleets to defend or attack Sov but it will require you to be smart about your deployments and actually log in to not just defend your space but simply to maintain control of it.