This article is opinion and is open for discussion regarding the mechanics of nullsec. Suggestions posted in this article are my own and should be seen as nothing more than a rant on nullsec issues.
EVE Online is one of the more cut-throat politically driven MMOs on the market right now. The metagame itself is by far one of the most intriguing selling points of the game. I cannot remember the last real battle I was a part of. I spend most of my time utilizing the silver tongue to my advantage in most scenarios.
That being said, I enjoy the action of EVE. However EVE needs work on two fronts. The sovereignty grind and the engagements. Too many times alliances are dissuaded to invade based on the month long grind they look forward to. This discussion has recently cropped up due to the tension between the HBC and the CFC. Why would the HBC invade the North if it’s going to be nothing more than a 3 month long structure grind?
Perhaps this is the way CCP Games wants it. If you’re going to invade an established region, it should take you months like it would in the real world. The problem is this is not the real world, and for a piece of software that is supposed to bring it’s users enjoyment, it fails miserably. Ultimately the structure grind is what has lead to the massive coalitions you see today. Reason? Efficiency. The more meat sacks you have to throw at a wall at any given time results in the wall crumbling at a faster pace.
CCP has, by mistake (hopefully), created an environment where alliances who are looking to move to nullsec “must” join an established coalition or live in NPC nullsec.
How do you resolve this?
Make the structure grind not only tolerable but “fun”. As a novice game designer myself, my creativity goes off on tangents. I string together multiple possibilities while searching for the most desired outcome. With the sovereignty system and structure grind, you have to come to a happy medium. You can’t simply hand systems over, yet you can’t continue to make them week long endeavors for a single system. The following is my own personal suggestion on reducing the time it takes to flip sovereignty while creating a fun environment for fleets.
There are far too many factors that go into a TCU becoming vulnerable to attack. Strict conditions must be met. These conditions are meant to assist the defending alliance in keeping their sovereignty. The problem is that in the day of coalitions, if a coalition wants your sovereignty, they are going to take it because coalitions will only attack systems they know they will be able to obtain with the least amount of resistance possible. This is why we are not seeing a full invasion of the North by the HBC at this time.
Step One: Remove the strict conditions needed for a TCU to become vulnerable SBUs are a thing of the past. They are nothing more than an annoyance in todays EVE.
Step Two: Reduce the amount of reinforce timers a TCU goes through. Allow the defending alliance to designate the time when the TCU will come out of its first reinforce timer to allow the defense of the TCU be at a prime time for the defenders. If the TCU is not engaged within 3 hours of coming out of reinforce, defense systems will cycle and reinforce will once again be applied.
So far, my suggestions have cut down the time it would take to flip a system. But where is the fun?
Step Three: System/TCU defense upgrades. No, I’m not talking about modules. I’m talking about NPC ships. What if the defending alliance itself could haul 50 rifters to the TCU, unload them into the defense hanger and actually watch the rifters undock and orbit the TCU, engaging any “neutral” or “hostile” entity that ventured too close? A maximum of X ships can be stored in the defens hanger of the TCU. Ship classes up to battleship can be placed in the defensive hanger. Maximum number of ships will need to be implemented to keep the node itself from crashing. NPC ships can be autofitted or, hell, let’s make it fully customizable and allow fitted ships to be deposited for even more fun.
Step three allows a 150 man alliance to become a 200 man alliance (pending on X = 50 on the defensive hangar ships) and has a far better chance of defending the TCU against attackers. It also allows the defending alliance a bit of time to organize and mobilize against the attackers.
Again, this is merely a suggestion and may not have any value whatsoever. We can all agree that sovereignty grinding is a problem and needs to be resolved. This is an open discussion so if you have any input or upgrades to my suggestion, please post them. Perhaps the EN24 community can create a flawless suggestion that we could pitch to CCP for consideration.