Welcome to my TED Talk…
Residents of New Eden have raised concerns about the proliferation of Upwell Citadel structures in all areas of space and their effect on Faction Warfare and Sov Null warfare. In this paper I will propose a solution which ties the anchoring of a citadel to faction standings, ownership of an IHUB (FW) or TCU (SOV).
The introduction of Upwell Consortiums Citadel structures in April 2016 marked a drastic change in how FW was fought. Previously, if a militia owned the IHUB in a system, then they had exclusive docking rights in the NPC stations in that system. The flip of an IHUB meant that the opposing militia was locked out of those stations, potentially isolating assets useful for carrying on a campaign. This made systems with stations strategically important to the militias and pushing the frontline in a warzone meant something. Usually, a push of the frontline in FW space meant planning and coordination between organizations that typically operated independently. The ability for anyone to anchor a citadel anywhere regardless of their faction standings gave militias unfettered access to logistics anywhere in an opposing militias space, making ownership of an IHUB pointless except to change the tier a faction is at. This drove down the point to actual conflict in FW and further incentivized farming FW for LP, with militiamen switching sides in a conflict according to the worth of a faction’s LP.
In Sov Null the proliferation of Citadels is a concern as the difficulty of removing these structures, even the smallest and cheapest of them, requires a significant dedication of time and manpower and becomes a deterrent to conflict. Previous to Citadels you’d be lucky to have an outpost in each system and POS warfare was limited to how many moons a system had. In heavily populated or established regions like Delve, Geminate, or Esoteria/Paragon Soul Citadels are so prolific that one could metaphorically walk from one side to the other on citadels and not get their boots wet. This is due to the residents of those regions and their industrious nature, however the stagnation of the Sov Null meta in terms of conflict is due in part to the effort one would require to remove those assets from space. We saw recently in the “Glassing of Tribute” that Citadels weren’t worth the effort to defend, and that it was cheaper to simply strip the assets and abandon them then to fight for them, but still required the aggressors to dedicate manpower, time and logistical support to remove them. The conflict boiled down to structure bashes punctuated by the occasional small scale fight, with both sides claiming victory to some degree.
Empire space sees a similar issue with endless entities anchoring Citadel structures for no other reason than to prove they can, with little risk as the standard war dec doesn’t typically provide enough time to see a bash of a fueled structure through to its destruction. A run through high sec will fill your overview with countless Citadels of all sizes and states from every imaginable organization including notorious groups like CODE. and P I R A T.
Proposal - FW and Low Sec
The anchoring of a Citadel should be tied to the ownership of the IHUB for FW entities. The militia that owns the IHUB can anchor a Citadel in that system. If you lose the IHUB, any Citadel class structures would unanchor. For low sec entities, anchoring Citadels should be tied to faction standings, if a system is Gallente aligned or is not in the FW warzone but in Gallente space, you must maintain positive standings with that faction. Should the system flip to the opposing militia, Caldari in this example, your structure would unanchor unless you also have positive standings with the Caldari faction. Citadels owned by third parties in the warzone (neither side of the two militias) would have ACL forced upon them allowing members of the militia that own the IHUB to dock while prohibiting members from the opposing militia from docking or tethering. For entities wishing to capitalize on maintaining a Citadel in the warzone, they would best be served by maintaining positive standings with both sides in the warzone.
The result of this would be a return to a reliance on NPC stations to push the front line and would make the anchoring of Citadels in a contested war zone a very calculated risk and one that would make for spirited defence of system IHUBs and bring life back to FW.
Proposal - High Sec
In high sec the anchoring of a structure would be tied solely to positive standings with the empire whose space you are placing the structure. This can be made more difficult by scaling the degree of positivity to the sec status of the system. A system with a higher sec status would require a higher degree of positive standings. If your entities standings should fall below the accepted level, your structure would unanchor. The result is that high sec entities would have to remain aware of their standings with the empire they operate in, and possibly be forced to only operate in certain areas of space.
There is also an opportunity to create an ISK sink of sorts by creating a mechanic similar to clone soldier tags for sec status where an entity would purchase an item to be traded for faction standings. This can be expanded to Low Sec and NPC Null Sec as well.
Proposal - Null Sec
In Sov Null space the anchoring of Citadels would be tied to the presence and ownership of a TCU. Currently the TCU is under valued as a sov structure, by tying anchoring to the TCU this would increase this structures strategic value. An entity that has a TCU in system is free to anchor as many Citadels of all shapes and sizes, however should an aggressor arrive and entosis the TCU and succeed in reinforcing it, the Citadels would go into a “high consumption” mode where the consumption of fuel would be increased by 100%, should the TCU be destroyed, the Citadels would go into low power mode, should a different entity online a TCU in that system, the former TCU owner’s Citadels would unanchor.
The result would be entities forced to defend TCUs in order to prevent at the very least the financial impact of a 100% increased fuel bill for a particular system. Imagine a system with 15 Citadels online, a Keepstar, 2 Fortizars, 3 Astrahaus’, 5 Tataras, 3 Azbels and a Sotiyo. That isn’t an uncommon amount if Citadels for an established Sov Null entity. Now imagine how much fuel that system would require for the next 48 hour reinforcement cycle. For an established group like The Imperium, TEST, or PANFAM, this cost might be easily absorbed but may result in a strained logistics train during a dedicated campaign. For a mid size to smaller group this results in forming a rapid reaction to an entosis attack on a TCU, making groups make better choices in how much space they try to hold sov over, and how many citadels to anchor considering the increased fuel bill should an aggressor reinforce a TCU. Previously, entities had the choice to ignore the initial entosis attack in favour of preparing for the battle for command nodes in 48 hours with no real consequences besides spreading the flash points for conflict through and entire constellation.
Citadel proliferation has impacted all areas of space, but none more than Faction Warfare. By tying the anchoring of Citadels to IHUBS in Faction Warfare, TCUs in Sov Null, and Faction standings in High sec, Low sec and NPC Null anchoring a Citadel becomes a more strategic decision than previously. Entities will have to consider the risk when anchoring a structure in that it may end up in hostile space and unanchoring due to an IHUB flip, TCU destruction, or loss of faction standings. Is it worth it in an alliance to allow every corp to drop an Astrahaus or Fortizar? Does every moon need a large refinery or would a medium suffice? Do we have enough fuel to keep our Citadels running for a 48 hour reinforcement cycle or will we end up with low power structures? Is it worth the ISK to pay for the standings to anchor this Citadel in this system, or would a more affordable / lower sec status system serve me better? Questions like these should lead to fewer Citadels in space, and those that are in space being at more risk and thus deserving of more protection. This would increase conflict in and reduce the structure grind of FW and Sov Null warfare.