A Symbiotic Relationship

After FozzieSov hit, a lot of people, including myself, expected sovereignty null-sec to burn. We all braced ourselves for fleets of Entosis link wielding hostiles to run around our space, reinforcing all the things. Instead, we got…nothing. Two Mordus Angel guys in Trollceptors who were chased out of range and subsequently left. I scratched my head in befuddlement for a while, but it is still early days, and a flick through Dotlan showed that there is plenty of Entosis related action going on. Elsewhere.

I’m sure our little piece of null-sec will get its turn, sooner or later. The fact of the matter is, CCP have introduced a system that might actually work. It has all manner of fine adjustments that can be made to it, to achieve the balance that is needed to keep things in a state of equalized conflict.

The problem is, anyone with a vested interest has a myopic view of the situation. Sovereignty holders want a vast swathe of space that is an impenetrable fortress that is  nigh on impossible for hostiles to enter. Gankers want those same entities to have space that has more holes in it than a political policy, so that they can run around getting blingy kills all day. The fact of the matter is, they are both right, and they are both wrong. It’s all about perception.

If CCP adjust FozzieSov too far one way or the other, one party wins, and then loses. Let me explain. Let’s say sovereignty holders win Uncle Fozzie’s favor, and they are holed up in a walled-in city of impenetrable prosperity. Think about the long-term implications. PVP oriented players will get bored, thus requiring the conquering of more space to keep them amused. The fortress gets bigger, even more boring and eventually dies under its own weight. The gankers, on the other hand, will be bored as well, no blingy kills to decorate a festering kill-board, no tears in local, nothing to beat their chests over.

So what if Fozzie twiddled the dials too much in the opposite direction? Well, who would want to hold space? Why bother? Now sovereignty null-sec becomes a vast wasteland of low-sec with bubbles and no gate-guns. Either way, the players lose, and CCP loses more.

So, as the post’s title suggests, it’s a symbiotic relationship. Both parties need each other to enjoy the game. Now, CCP has a system which can be constantly tweaked and adjusted to ensure this relationship remains in the right balance.

We’ve already seen some awareness of the importance of this balance. CCP did an eleventh-hour emergency buff to PVE content in sovereignty space (I don’t think anyone actually swallowed the whole “We’ve been keeping this secret for months” bollocks, did they?). Now, no entity has the right to complain a system can’t support enough people, can they? Coupled with the nerf to C5 and null-sec wormholes, CCP ensured sovereignty was worth having to the average null-sec resident.

Of course, the wormholers are unhappy, as are Pandemic Legion and their ilk. But, I have no doubt they will find new ways to get their e-peen stroking kills, given the time.

I think CCP are on the right track with all this, but the players need to adjust their mindset. The worst of all people are the sovereignty holders themselves. For years, holding sovereignty meant bringing in the big toys, smashing through a mind-boggling amount of hit points and then invading somewhere else. Set up the moon mining (more on this in another post) and the combat guys pick a couple of ratting systems. Staging system, jump bridge network, industry system or two, and the rest is just left to rot.

The issue I see now is that the alliance guys are looking at this new system and saying, “Right, how do we get our old setup in place under this new thing?”

The answer is, of course, you don’t. It’s gone, and it’s never coming back. Deployment is something else they’re desperately clinging to, but that’s a goner, too. Deployment for what, exactly? To take more space? Don’t make me laugh, they’re going to be flat-out holding on to what they’ve got. If an alliance goes on deployment, what happens? Well, what always happened in the past? The wormholers and the NPC null-sec guys all came a-calling, that’s what. Blingy kills were had, chests were beaten, and local was spammed with nerdy superiority. All this until the combat guys came back off deployment and the NPC guys got all their stuff smashed. They would then turtle up in station until someone else went on deployment, and thus nature would balance itself.

Not so anymore, oh dear me no. If an alliance takes their combat guys on deployment, those same NPC and wormhole guys come out of the woodwork, but this time they’ll reinforce all the things. Deployment is gone, face it. Certainly the combat guys would point the finger at the industrial guys and demand they prevent it, but industrialists would simply give them the middle finger and move on. The knuckle-draggers don’t appreciate that industrial players are among the most experienced and richest players in the game, and they can go wherever they want. They don’t need you, but you need them.

No, the whole mindset of null-sec players has to change. And it’s already started. I have seen pings go out from the Imperium leadership for more ratting to be done. The ban on carrier ratting is gone, and they’ve even pinged mining fleets. Leadership aren’t the only ones, though. Those who rat with no interest in PVP are going to face challenges. Cloaky camping will be a decent weapon against an area being prepared for invasion. Not LOLcamping, of course, I mean campers who actually kill things.

Roaming solo guys will be able to disrupt indices, too. Ratters and miners both need to change their mindset, and be ready to aggressively keep their indices up. It’s no longer workable to simply say, “I’m ratting, not PVPing.” You need to be ready to do both. I have a new Ishtar fit that can easily tank and quickly kill a neut-fitted Stratios or a Pilgrim, and also melt an interceptor going 7.5km/s no problem. It earns great bounty ticks as well. Mining needs to be done in fleets with combat boosts alongside the mining boosts and combat ratting ships located handy.

So, things are doable. But, you need an imagination, and a willingness to defend your space.

Or, don’t hold sovereignty. The choice is that simple.

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