After my blog post the other day on some ideas to (perhaps) improve sovereignty, there continue to be two separate ideas floated by the wider community.
I don’t claim my ideas are stellar. A couple of them might be good. A couple of them might be terrible. But I don’t think any of my suggested changes are as bad as the following two ideas, both of which have an unbelievable amount of traction with the community.
The two ideas? Escalating sovereignty costs (usually suggested to be exponentially escalating) and the idea that to keep space you have to use it (which means doing PvE activities such as mining and NPC killing.)
Escalating Sovereignty Costs
For this example, let’s use Goonswarm Federation. (We can’t use the CFC, because the CFC is simply a collection of alliances, and sovereignty costs are an alliance cost.) As our exponentially increasing value, we’ll use 1.01. And for our base sovereignty cost, we’ll use 84M ISK, which is the current cost, payable every fourteen days.
At this moment, Goonswarm Federation owns 152 systems. So, for their first system they pay 84M ISK, and for their 152nd system they pay 377.4M ISK (84 x 1.01151.) As the numbers demonstrate, system ownership is getting very expensive for poor Goonswarm, and they probably would not want to pay those sorts of prices to hold that many systems. The proponents of this idea are all like “Yea! That’s exactly what we intended!”
But, does Goonswarm actually start shedding systems to reduce costs? That’s obviously the intention of the game mechanic, but that is not what is going to happen. Goonswarm will just take large chunks of their territory and transfer it off to other Goonswarm owned entities. You’ll simply see territory owned by new alliances such as Goonswarm Holdings, Goonswarm Industry, and Goonswarm Production. They still get to own their 152 systems, and they get to bypass the worst of the escalating price increases. If it is this easy to sidestep a game mechanic, it is not a very good game mechanic.
Also, consider the big blue donut. How will this mechanic affect conflict in nullsec? Organizations tend to expand until it is no longer feasible to do so. They’ll expand to that point where it no longer makes economic sense. This mechanic will result in more complacency in nullsec than in the present situation. Even if a group would like to go to war, if they don’t have the income to expand, the income to support the territory they wish to conquer, they won’t. Territorial growth will slow to a crawl.
Expansion will come down to membership. Membership activity is what gives an alliance its income. So if an alliance does expand, that expansion will correlate to a membership increase. There’ll be wars, I just suspect that they’ll be even fewer and farther between than what we’re currently used to. If anything, rather than alliances being aggressive on expansion, they’ll be more aggressive trying to recruit new members and trying to poach them from enemy organizations. That will be the new wars under an escalating sov cost model, the war for membership.
Use Space To Keep Space
I am entirely against any system that dictates to players how they should play the game. A use it or lose it mechanic does just that. It tells players, “Do PvE or lose your space.” That’s not sandbox play. That’s not a sandbox mechanic.
If someone can afford space, then they should be able to do anything they want with that space. I agree that it sucks when organizations (such as the CFC) have more space than they use, but so be it. The game should incentivize use, but it shouldn’t dictate use.
If it’s agreed that space should be more expensive (I’m not sure I agree with that, but for the sake of argument, I’ll pretend), then it should be a flat fee model. Or cost should be determined by the truesec value of a system. And if space is more expensive, perhaps triple as expensive as it is now, then a Use Space model can be implemented that rewards use, perhaps reduces sov costs based on that degree of usage. Don’t use your space, pay full costs. Use it to some degree, the price starts dropping. The organization still has freedom of choice.
As always, agree, disagree, or rage in the comments.
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse blog.