Wasn’t sure where to put this. ISD please feel free to move to a more appropriate section.
This post is a collection of ideas that I would like to spitball. My intention is not to “fix” SOV. Like my supercapitals thread that I’m working on, I saw an interesting problem and wanted to have some fun brainstorming possible solutions. I hope this provides valuable input for CCP and the playerbase to come up with their own ideas and solutions. My aim is to inspire.
SOVEREIGNTY: YOU KEEP WHAT YOU CAN HOLD
Currently there are just so many mechanics involved in taking and holding SOV. I don’t even know them all, to be honest. So if I end up sounding dumb, that’s probably why. But SOV warfare sounds like a real pain in the butt. I remember when entosis linking was introduced (is that still a thing? It sounded dreadful) and there was massive disappointment over it. Players still regularly complain about SOV mechanics. There are a lot of timers.
I think SOV should be much simpler than that. No one likes timers. But everyone likes having their flag on the hill. So let’s remove SOV timers and keep the flags: Every structure provides a certain amount of “control points”. Does your corporation/alliance have a certain percentage majority of control points in the system (let’s say, just for the sake of example, 85-90%)? Congratulations: Your name is listed next to the system name on the UI. Is the ratio smaller? You have 60%, your enemies have 40%? The system is listed as “Contested”.
Systems with no structures will be listed as “Unclaimed”. But wait: All you need is a special structure anchored in space, only one per system, the only effect it has is putting your flag in the sand to stake your claim. As soon as another organization anchors even an Astrahaus, the system is “Contested” or they just take ownership. This “flag” structure should not have long timers or be a huge pain in the butt to kill. We’re not fighting over the flags. We’re fighting over the system.
So Xui, how do you take SOV? - Simple. Occupation. Live there. Anchor structures. Use the systems. Kick the other nerds out and plant your flags. You keep what you can hold.
THERE’S STILL STRUCTURE TIMERS DUMBY
Yeah those need to be reworked. With asset safety and stuff like that there’s really no need for long timers. A faster potential turn-over rate for SOV would mean people are more willing to engage to take SOV, and that would mean people would need to stay alert, engaged, and active to defend their space. With changes to structures and upgrades that I propose below, it would mean that players would have to reach a natural (and easily disrupted) “equilibrium” with their environment; a balance between how distributed their playerbase can be while still maintaining active defense vs how many pilots their systems can support via PvE (more on this below).
That’ll affect wormholes! - Not unless it’s made to. Longer timers in WH’s make sense because a) there’s no asset safety and b) for the most part you have the entire organization of players living in one system, out of whatever structures they can anchor. Evictions are fun, and create a risk that engages players - but evictions also remove content after it’s over. There needs to be a… and I’m going to use this word to death… balance.
BUT MUH UPGRADES?!
Current upgrade mechanics are cancerous and extremely unhealthy for the game. NullSec has become a tumor, strangling it’s host. Just look at CCPs economic report: massive ISK faucets, and not enough sinks to keep up. And the sheer volume of material being added to the game via 24/7 mining in systems that have, in practice, permanent anomalies far outpaces the amount of material being deleted via combat. It’s creating a bloated economy and what the folks living in NullSec don’t realize is that they are actually reversing their own income stream: the more they mine, the less valuable minerals become. The more they rat, the less valuable ISK becomes. ISK becomes worth less, and minerals cost less ISK. Mining and ratting more only exacerbates the problem. It’s diminishing returns to the point of negative returns.
SOV bills (do those even exist anymore?) do nothing to balance this out; their removal (via “Keep What You Can Hold”) would not be a major detriment. Instead, upgrading and resource availability must be rebalanced, and it needs to be strategized and made competitive the same way structure limits would be (see below).
Organizations should be able to upgrade various aspects of their systems; from moon mining, ratting, asteroid mining, production, and exploration, and their upgrade effectiveness should be affected by their percentage of system control they have - 90% control? 90% effectiveness (or maybe some weird CCP formula to determine it, maybe some kind of reverse trigonomic logarithm that involves long division and calculus to give incentive for maintaining 100% system control - you drop to 90% control, and you only receive 60% of the benefits from your upgrades).
Upgrades should not result in a situation where you have massive fleets mining 24/7 because by the time the first anomaly is mined, the next two have already spawned. Operations should have to move around (moving is risk and effort), and organizations need to consider: where to upgrade systems for mining, where to upgrade systems for ratting, which systems to upgrade for production?
STRUCTURES: STRATEGY NOT SPAM
It’s my opinion that structures in NullSec should be limited in such a way to foster strategic and competitive gameplay. This can easily be justified via lore; structures are limited in NullSec areas due to a lack of vital support infrastructure so far from Empire space.
I believe that there should be a constellation limit on structures, and a regional limit, and that the regional limit should be much lower than the sum of the constellation limits. A formula could be used based on the number of systems in a constellation and the number of constellations in a region, plus a random value, to determine the totals. Separate limits could be imposed for structure size, for example, Astrahaui, Fortizars, and Keepstars.
Certain structures should also have dependencies on other structures. For example, one ideacould be that refineries require the presence of a Fortizar in system, while engineering complexes require an Astrahaus. This could create more conflict; for example, you want to set up a Fortizar in order to install moon mining infrastructure… but your neighbors in the constellation have a few too many Fortizars, and you have to remove them (or negotiate their removal (with Antimatter XL)) in order to proceed. When the supporting structures for a citadel have been destroyed, that citadel becomes easier to destroy (affects the timers) begins to use more fuel, and provides less benefits. It also starts a hidden timer that would unanchor the structure after a random period of time. Players will have a strong incentive to defend the supporting structures.
I absolutely feel that, no matter what, due to current problems with supercapitals, Keepstars should be limited no matter what. Make Keepstar placement a highly strategic and highly contested aspect of gameplay. Organizations will have to think deeply, prioritize, and then choose where they want to maximize their supercapital force projection. Owning supercapitals could present a liability and pressure could be placed on supercapital assets via attacking Keepstars.
TL;DR - Limitations on the number of structures either in total or by type in order to promote strategy and competition between organizations. Cooperation is good, too, I guess.
CCP has struggled to balance force projection (see: Phoebe). It hasn’t worked very well because organizations can just “stage” supers in different places to create “the supercap umbrella”. I’m not sure how to solve this problem, but it needs to be solved (along with the supercapital balance I’m working on in another thread). I think reducing jump range on supercapitals, keeping their docking limited to Keepstars, and limiting the number of Keepstars in a region, would be a good start. There should be “dead zones” all around the map where supercapitals cannot easily and instantly deploy to. Taking supercapitals on a campaign to your enemy’s capital system should be a big deal.
Junk it. Blackout was a good change despite the whining. Location and time on kill reports (for NullSec), and in-game map statistics, provide too much free intel that players don’t have to work for. These things are fine for HiSec, but in NullSec not only does it not make any sense, but it’s just garbage. Putting alts on a gate that feed information to automated, third party systems that feed that information back to players - that’s botting. If they haven’t already, I hope CCP removes that. Players actively scouting and reporting to in-game channels and on comms? That’s playing the game.
I don’t have any problem with creative solutions players come up with as long as it involves pilots actively engaging with the game client - not some third party application passively reading data from the client and sending out automated broadcasts.
I love the idea of Soveriegnty. I love the idea that a group of players can band together, strike out into the unknown, and set up their own little empire. It’s the lifeblood of EVE Online. However, SOV is currently sick and set up in a way that promotes “the blue donut”, monofleets (supercaps), passive gameplay, and activities that are actively destroying the economy of New Eden. This was why, when I left Empire space, I chose Wormholes over NullSec. In summary:
- Switch to occupation based SOV. The only timers should be structure timers, and those should be drastically reduced. Remove the pain of “grinding” and waiting and promote active gameplay.
- System ownership is determined by “control points”, provided by structures. Each structure in space provides a certain number of “control points”.
- Control points are calculated to display SOV information on system and determine the effectiveness of upgrades.
- Make system upgrades strategic, limit how many different upgrades a system can have, and nerf anoms.
- Limit the total number of structures, especially apex structures (Fortizar, Keepstar) in space and add dependencies for utility structures, requiring Astrahaus, Fortizar, or Keepstar to be online.
- Limit force projection and the locations where supercapitals can be “safely” staged.
- Nuke passive intel.
I’d like to see a more active, riskier NullSec, with faster ownership turnover rates, more conflict, and more fun.
But wait, there’s more!
A NEW ROLE FOR TITANS?
Working on this project got me thinking about my supercapital balance thread. Supercarriers were relatively easy to brainstorm on. But when I got to Titans, I hit a brick wall. WTF should a Titan do? Well, structure limitations got me thinking:
Imagine a massive combat/utility structure. Imagine this structure is actively piloted and could provide unique bonuses to a fleet (perhaps an EWAR immunity burst or something cool), and can field Dreadnaught level DPS. This structure can also be deployed a certain distance from other structures (including other Titans). Once anchored, it functions like a Citadel, but without a “damage cap” or reinforcement timer or anything like that. They’d have several copious “fleet hangars” that could store modules, fuel, and even a large number of subcapital ships. Because of the internal structure taking up by these storage spaces, they’d have less EHP than they do now.
So they’d be risky to deploy, but provide staging utility, combat ability, and a mobile base. Mechanics and limitations would have to be tweaked to balance cost, risk, and to avoid spamming.
Anyway those were some random ideas I had while falling asleep last night. Enjoy eviscerating them.