There is an interview with CCP Fozzie up on TheMittani that I believe is well worth twenty minutes of your time. If you are living in null-sec, or interested in the thinking behind the upcoming changes to sovereignty mechanics, the interview is very informative.
It can be found here.
I must confess, Fozzie managed to change my mind about the impending changes to sovereignty. My initial impression was not that favorable, as the preview of his vision for the new sovereignty system smacked of having been designed for griefers, by griefers. It initially seemed that the new null-sec was to be low-sec with bubbles. Having heard his intentions explained, however, things make a lot more sense.
From the outset, Fozzie presents his views clearly and succinctly. I appreciate the insight he gives into CCP’s goals for null-sec. It has become clear to me that CCP intend to make any given area of null-sec worth having, and worth fighting for. The system they are gradually introducing is designed to be as adjustable as possible, to facilitate balancing quickly and effectively.
My greatest concern was that CCP would make the owners of a system defend it constantly against every Tom, Dick and Harry passerby with an Entosis module. While the Entosis mechanic will undoubtedly be used to cause grief to a certain extent, heavily occupied and used systems are likely to be very difficult for hostiles to attack.
The structure changes indicate the defenders will have good advantages, especially the surveillance structure, which looks to grant system owners an immediate local whilst surrounding systems have wormhole style delayed local. Add to that the touted ability to detect cloaked ships, and defending a system looks quite doable.
However, Fozzie makes it clear that they wish to see lots of conflict. Both attackers and defenders should enjoy the tasks set for them. The PVPers will have plenty of interesting spaceship blowing up activities, and the tacticians will have an interesting time planning ahead for both defense and offense.
There is one major change coming, though. The old days of alliances holding space and not using or defending it, are about to end. Renters who in the past have simply gone, “Meh, not my space, anyway.”, will find their landlords asking for a change of attitude. Such rental arrangements may well go the way of the Dodo. Rental looks likely to give way to fealty, where tenants will be required to man the gates and ramparts when their home is attacked. They may even find themselves incorporated into large alliances, and will need to become care-bears with teeth.
I cannot disagree with this. Our corp, while not making PVP compulsory, has very good turnouts for unwelcome visitors. The results are obviously mixed, but we are effective enough that many gangs will no longer enter our main system. I believe that, if you live in lawless space, you must be willing to group up and have at any hostiles. If the visitors are too large a group to combat, then docking up is still the logical option. We do both, and have a ton of fun doing it.
Naturally, there are those who want no part of PVP. Fozzie sovereignty puts the onus on system owners to have their indices up, which means ratters and miners are definitely needed. This may well see some interesting new dynamics wrought upon the way sovereignty holding alliances work. The old chest beating, knuckle scraping attitude of the leet PVP crowd will see them holding little to no space under the new system. They will need to incorporate null-bears, or switch to mercenary style game-play. Yes, they will be able to capture vast swathes of space, but to what end? Their pilots will soon tire of conquering systems unopposed for little to no purpose. Any system they wish to hold will require solid PVE activity, or it is a trivial matter for an opposer to take it off them.
I’m afraid I cannot sympathize with those who are complaining they cannot defend their space adequately under this new arrangement, either. If you haven’t got the manpower to defend your space, then you own too much space. Alliances need to prioritize their system ownership based on their defensive capabilities, rather than their offensive ones. This is much more realistic than the Dominion system, which put all the emphasis on offensive capability.
Fozzie also responded well to the interviewer asking about geographic considerations such as choke systems that can be hell-camped to prevent intrusion. Fozzie basically said an invader will need to use tactical thinking and coordinated, well planned ops to get around such things. Black-ops fleets to install a POS to establish a bridge head, for instance. Much of this would see geography making certain areas more desirable than others, something it appeared the interviewer had an issue with.
I for one think the Eve universe should have variations in geography, as this is a conflict driver that makes the game interesting. If an alliance, or group of alliances, has the manpower and organizational capabilities to make certain areas of their home space virtually impenetrable, good for them. However, if that group wants to expand their space, they will need to do so with care. They will need to be mindful of their ability to defend it once captured. The jump range changes have given a huge advantage to defendants of isolated areas, and the upcoming mining changes mean full independence from high-sec is ever closer. Thus, the occupants of distant constellations are sitting on prime real estate for a change. This alone should see null-sec ablaze for some time to come.
I would encourage everyone concerned to get active in giving CCP the feedback they need to implement this new system properly. With some decent assistance, CCP could make a change to null-sec that will see it vibrant and challenging, as I am told it once was, many years ago.