Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tease and No Tickle

TheMittani’s recent alliance update drops quite a few bombs in a surprisingly few words. So many, in fact, that I just had to comment in two different posts.  While the first focused on the roleplay aspect, this post is all about shifting coalitions.

First, let’s talk about what we know.  According to Vince Draken’s Twitter account (and confirmed on TMC), NC. Is going to drop sov as of April 18, will reset Northern Associates, their rental alliance, and is presumably bowing out of N3.  Nulli Secunda and Darkness. are losing their space in the black hole that is Delve/Querious/Period Basis (does anyone ever talk about those regions separately?).  And everything N3 built up over the past couple years is being tossed into the “obsolete, not necessary” bin.

There are a few different ways you could take this change.  On the one hand, you could build a #failcascade narrative out of the speed at which the N3 invasion of Fountain turned into the disintegration of the entire coalition and the loss of all of their space.  Personally, what surprises me isn’t that they chose to go their separate ways (for reasons I’ll explain later), but the nonchalance involved.  NC. doesn’t seem to care about their allies currently being hammered in the south, and Nulli and Darkness. don’t seem to be terribly upset that NC. pretty much left them out to hang high and dry.

That surprises me quite a bit.  If an Imperium alliance (Dune evocation, so I’ll buy it) was attacked and the rest of the coalition didn’t respond, it’d send major shockwaves through the integrity of the coalition as a whole.  I suppose I’d just assume the same reaction among other coalitions.  That could suggest underlying problems between the component alliances that indicates some truth to the failure cascade storyline.

But, on the other hand, to some extent, this move was predictable ever since N3 stated their purpose for existing was to destroy the CFC.  In that, they were a laughable failure (Seraph’s suggested gambits to the contrary).  While the CFC seems organized under common goals and clear objectives, its enemies unify to destroy it.  And should that fail, it’s only a matter of time until the underlying differences begin to fragment those coalitions of convenience.

And for another reason, it’s logical for NC. to abandon its sov.  FozzieSov seems to be continuing – at this point, at least – largely intact without much modification.  There are a number of reasons why that’s a problem.  Being the attacker is definitely going to be easier than being the defender.  In its current iteration, FozzieSov is a destructive system that will certainly kick over all the castles, but does nothing to encourage anyone to build them up again.

In this kind of system, a globe-trotting alliance could naturally conclude that a nomadic lifestyle – perhaps as a mercenary? – is the way to go.  PL did, BL has always done it, and NC. appears to be doing it too.

Only, under FozzieSov, who is going to care enough to pay you to regularly attack targets sufficiently powerful to help you keep your edge?  Those targets anyone will care to hire you for will be beneath you (causing you to lose pilots over time from a lack of exciting content) and the difficulty in holding null-sec under FozzieSov coupled with a lack of accelerated isk-generating methods in null-sec will make high-value mercenary contracts extremely unlikely.  Who will pay 300 billion isk for something that can easily be taken off them down the road?  You’d have to hope for a protection racket gigs (“If you hire us, we’ll defend you if you’re attacked.”).

From that perspective, I get why NC. would decide to abandon their sov.  I don’t, however, understand the timing.  If I was them, I’d want to hold on to as many moon as possible for as long as possible.  Fill those coffers for the dark times ahead.  Perhaps there is some truth to the failcascade storyline.  Or perhaps it was simply too hard to keep together a coalition united by hatred of the evil CFC.  It’s pretty clear that the CFC will endure so long as the cohesion among its member alliances continues.


TheMittani also mentioned that there would be some changes to the alliances within the CFC-now-Imperium.  The first of those major changes was the shutting down of Fatal Ascension, one of the major alliances within the CFC.  I admit I haven’t been too focused on how each of the CFC alliances has been over the past few months, but Zagdul, the leader of the coalition, apparently left Eve some time ago, and FA couldn’t absorb the loss.

This is personally quite sad to me.  Of all the alliances that were in the CFC when I joined, FA was one I spent the most time around, other than Razor.  Long before the joint deployment, I remember seeing dozens of FA folks in fleets.  While their members are still going to be welcome in another CFC alliance, if they so choose, it’ll be sad not seeing the FA ticker.

While I don’t know if any other CFC alliances will leave (with the time zone focus, I could see Razor – a predominantly EUTZ alliance – decide to formally leave the CFC but still preserve their blue status), it seems pretty clear that FozzieSov is certainly succeeding in smashing the sandcastles, as I predicted, along with many others.

Many hoped that a shake-up of sov would break apart the coalitions.  In one respect – N3 – it appears as if that might be the case.  And the Imperium is getting a little smaller (in members, if not pilots) as well.

And it represents a further compression of CFC space, leaving A LOT of territory open for the taking.  I’m personally quite eager to see what happens when renters have to maintain their own space from attack, when immigrants move in to take this empty space, and when I get a WH to these Balkanized areas of null-sec.

Assuming, of course, that space is worth it for anyone to take.  There’s still time to bring balance to the force and raise the value of null-sec for small entities in the new Fozziesov madness that makes their ownership quite spurious.  Interesting times ahead!


  1. I don't think the problem for small entities in null-sec is value - on an absolute scale, null is already significantly more valuable than highsec in most ways - it's survival. It doesn't matter how wonderful holding sov is 'in theory' if in practice you get your teeth kicked in before you can do anything with it.

    Ironically, I suspect that the 'burn-it-all' flavour to Fozziesov has the potential to increase security for smaller groups in nullsec. A small group will never be able to defend themselves from the full might of a large coalition. Period. The difference between their respective resources is just too extreme. The only way to allow them to survive in nullsec (as anything other than pets) is to make it impractical or risky for the large group to concentrate all of that power and actually apply it to a single smaller target.

    The way to do that is firstly to make travel slower and extended supply chains more costly, especially for large-scale capital fleets, and secondly to make securing your space require permanant local garrisons, not just a centralised fleet that can hot-drop anywhere in the empire. What we want is a situation where the CFC could throw overwhelming force at the station that just went into freeport mode in the empty space on their borders... but Nulli supercaps have been seen massing on their southern border and one of the WH groups has a new FC who has been repeatedly hitting their OA network. Committing a serious force could let their bigger enemies cause real damage while the task force is out of position, and the station's just not valuable enough to justify the risk.

    The Jump Fatigue changes were a step towards the first half of that; Fozziesov looks promising for the second half. There does need to be a reason for attackers to target bigger entities disproportionately more than smaller ones, but we can expect bigger forces to occupy more valuable space, and to have more valuable infrastructure deployed in it. Add that to the 'grrr goons' effect, and I'd say we have an interesting first iteration.

    1. I look forward to repelling the attacks on the Imperium that are appropriate given the power projection we've inflicted over the years. And the larger entities should be targets based on the quality of the space they hold, not a modifier. You're spot on there.

      But I do disagree with your assessment of value. Decisions aren't made based on gross revenue, they're made based on profit. When you factor in the logistics, the hassle, the organization, the expertise needed to thrive in null... and now you add on top of it the annoyance, headaches, and troll invasion attempts (which the defender still needs to show up for even if the attacker chooses not to), you get a different story. The cost/value analysis just isn't worth it. And if it's not worth it for the best organized and most efficient organizations, you can bet it won't be worth it for newbie sov-holders who don't really know what they're doing.

      That's why people say it's "not worth it". NC. - one of the powerhouses and old sov-holding alliances - washed their hands of sov. And they're smarter tha little old me. That should tell you something of the relative value people feel null will hold after FozzieSov. We're not talking complaints or petitions here, we're talking an action, a massive action pregnant with meaning.

      If pre-FozzieSov gave a gross revenue of 10 and an annoyance/hassle cost of 4, sure, that 6 beats out pretty much anything else. But what about the extra 5 or 6 Fozzie Sov adds to that annoyance rating? Now you're looking at a net of 1... at best.

      That's the problem I see with FozzieSov. A lot of the best people will decide, "We can have more fun extorting others than holding space ourselves", and that's no good. It disincentivizes folks from carving out their own kingdom, and eventually no one will want a kingdom.

    2. I agree that the important part is profit, not gross revenue; the point I was trying to make there was that I don't think pumping up the gross revenue even further will help - at least from the little guy's perspective. The costs/risks are high enough that pushing the value of nullsec up high enough to bring smaller entities in anyway will end up breaking the game. Changes need to be aimed at the hassle/risk side of the equation instead.

      As for the question of whether sov is 'worth it' for the big guys, NC. know a lot more about that than me. If they're dropping sov, I'm sure they've got good reasons for it.

      I do suspect that Fozziesov isn't as heavily biased towards the attacker as some people are suggesting - or, at least, is only that bad when the defender is trying to hold space they're not living in (and possibly for the first few weeks/months, while people are still experimenting). That's something that will only be proven one way or the other when the changes actually hit, though.

      Secondly, and perhaps more pertinently, I can't help wondering whether CCP privately considers breaking up the old kingdoms and leaving null (temporarily) largely unoccupied to be a feature, not a bug. Sometimes, when you want to build something new, upgrading in place just means the old system corrupts the new one. In that case, the best option is to burn the current version to the ground and rebuild on the ashes.

      Obviously that last bit is entirely speculative, but it seems to join up most of the dots we can see at the moment...

    3. Just felt I had to step in and say this,

      "troll invasion attempts (which the defender still needs to show up for even if the attacker chooses not to)"

      If you are not contesting entosis attempts, then FozzieSov has failed (in one aspect).

      You should NEVER be facing a command note situation, because you should be contesting every attempt to entosis your structures. If you're not there to contest, then perhaps you should be living in a smaller amount of space..

      Talking about a situation where you're not willing to take the first step, and moaning about the consequences of not doing, is a prime example of how to distort the truth.

      You only need to devote one alt to each structure. Your attackers, if they are trolls, will leave. If they escalate, then it isn't a troll attempt.

      Please don't talk about the 'not worth it' level, when you've already shown that taking the first step is not worth it.

      Rob K.

      (I hope this didn't come off as too hostile)

    4. Replying in general to the first comment:

      Calling it a 'first half' has the unfortunate (dangerous) implication of meaning that it'll only get one more look over before it is called complete. This needs to be a constantly examined system. We don't want another dominion situation on our hands. I'd prefer that we call it a 'first step' :P

      In the grand scope of things that will change with FozzieSov, I think one will be the idea of a 'staging system'. Ideally, I'd hope to see a 10-20 player garrisons in each constellation. They'll have 'instant response' capability, and they'll be paid by alliances to do this.

      Too many responses to Sov 5.0 are hampered by tradition and small-mindedness. Looking at Fountain, an actual alliance response fleet (of only 10 guys) would outnumber 90% of the gangs that roam through. Small gang isn't hard, the people are there, they just need to undock.

      Considering the wealth of a constellation in Fountain is 1 bil gross a day (just in moons), maybe that could be directly distributed to the players, not just as SRP. Paying people to PvP isn't an unoriginal idea. Of course, it attracts those seedy low-sec types, who actually enjoy shooting people that have a chance of winning too :p.

      Rob K.