Yesterday, I was reading an article by Kyle Aparthos over at TMC talking about local mobility in Eve. His comments coalesced around some of my own opinions about jump fatigue and mobility. On the one hand, I absolutely agree that capital fleets should not be able to jump across the galaxy at a moment's notice to participate in fights the way they did before fatigue.
But, on the other hand, it doesn't make much sense for a capital to be stuck in one system for at least 5 minutes or - if you're doing it right - 50 minutes to clear your fatigue. That seems a bit ridiculous if you just want to jump to a nearby system. Fatigue was meant to reduce the effective projection of capital forces, not to destroy the tactical advantage of jump drives entirely.
Let's get one thing straight... it is tactically unfeasible for capitals to take gates to defend a whole constellation under fire. One set of bubbles can clog a capital fleet for 15-20 minutes, and when dealing with defense mechanics in place, that eliminates the value of capitals to attack multiple aggressing fleets. Small entities are effectively hamstrung to having to deploy their limited capitals in only one system, perhaps two, during a reinforcement cycle. That utterly defeats the purpose of the system in regards to allowing smaller entities to defend against larger ones.
So, long-range travel and force projection, bad. Local force projection, good.
Allow me to switch topics. In physics, when we talk about the expansion of the universe, we're talking about macro scales. The universe isn't expanding within a local frame of reference... the distance between the sun and Earth, or Sol and Alpha Centauri, isn't changing due to the expansion of the universe. But when you get to larger scales, this becomes a real problem. There are some areas of the universe we'll never get to see because expansion is occurring faster than the speed of light.
So, both within Eve and in the real world, there's some context for effects at distant ranges being different from effects at close range.
I think jump fatigue should scale in the same fashion. Want to jump around the same constellation? No problem... you won't accrue any fatigue. After all, you're staying within the same general area, and aren't traveling too far. The stargates, beacons, etc. are all likely to be on the same frequency and follow the same basic rules.
But when you want to jump constellations, things get more interesting. Maybe the frequencies of the stargates and celestial beacons are a little different, but still basically the same. You're starting to project farther afield, and that carries some penalties. So your jump fatigue accrues a bit more... let's say 80% of the current level.
Then, let's say you want to go further still, and want to cross regions. Okay, now you're talking about a whole different set of bureaucracy and wildly different beacon calibrations. Now, there are more opportunities for something to go wrong, for your ship's systems to become fried or need to recharge. From a gameplay perspective, you're clearly now seeking to project power, and need to be penalized for it to prevent galaxy-trotting. Maybe now, you're looking at 200% fatigue penalties.
Whatever the numbers, I do think preventing galaxy-spanning is a very good thing, but let's not toss the baby out with the bathwater. I want pilots jumping capitals to run escalations within the same constellation. I want people being able to rep five or six towers or structures in one night with their carriers (until that goes away). I don't want large entities to deploy 10 capitals to each of 10 systems because they have the numbers are the defenders can only defend one or two.
Let's keep the nerf to power projection while discarding the restrictions on local use, shall we?