If a barbarian horde comes over your borders and you won’t or
can’t field a force to turn them back, you’ve no one to blame but
yourself when they start drinking your tea, eating cake off the good
china and leaving the toilet seats up.

“Hey, nice bit of real estate,” they’ll say “Good pig country. And
there’s nobody using it. I think we’ll stay.”  Next thing you know, the
locals are calling the lead barbarian “Your Highness”. 

     –  Fiddler’s Edge, Barbarians at the Gates

The blue-ball doctrine is, in essence, the practice of denying fights to the enemy.  It is commonly employed by members of sov holding alliances when raiding parties roams their space and those home-defense forces willing and able to counter the interlopers are not sufficient to guarantee said interlopers are properly curb-stomped. 

By denying a raiding party the kills and good fights they came for, the blue-ball doctrine seeks to discourage marauding bad guys without having to call in the cavalry.  When a band of desperadoes ride into nullsec town, guns blazing, the locals simply safe up and wait then out. And, absent an overwhelming home-defense fleet advantage, this makes perfect sense as there is no penalty for defensive indifference.

Everything of real value to the locals and the sov holding entity is protected by reinforce timers.  As you might imagine, returning to complete one’s pillage and burn on a schedule known to local law enforcement is not in the raiding party idiom.  As such, high value resources are normally safe from roaming desperadoes, as are an alliance’s sovereignty infrastructure. 

CCP has, of course, added deployable structures sans reinforce timers to provide targets for raiding parties without threatening the nullsec status quo.  However, at the end of the day such structures don’t represent significant enough of a strategic or financial loss to get the locals or the sov holders onto the field of battle.  And, absent any motivation to defend one’s space, blue-balling is the smart strategy for passive defense:  Deny the desperado fights. Deny the desperado kills. Deny the desperado fun.   A sufficiently bored desperado will soon be on his way to elsewhere, and slow to return.

Now, nullsec alliances often overextend their sovereign space, claiming more systems than they can actively use. There are a number of reasons for this, some financial, some logistic and some strategic. However, the end result is that much of sovereign nullsec is very sparsely populated.  As many players will attest, once you leave the main traffic pipelines and jump bridge systems, it is possible to travel through one sov-controlled system after another without encountering another player. 

Yet, despite a near complete absence of resistance to their presence in such places, raiders can do little harm to a sovereign’s interests.  And again, there’s no penalty to sovereigns who fail to repulse invading subcapital fleets. 

But what if there were?

There is a difference between holding sovereignty over a territory and controlling it.  Historically when barbarians show up to pillage the village the local sovereign may temporarily lose control of the village, but his/her long-term sovereignty is not in question.  The locals go back to generating revenue from the territory and all is as it was.  The status quo is maintained.

However, sometimes the barbarians don’t leave.  Sometimes they hang around and prevent the local population from harvesting resources or generating revenue from the territory. Or they begin keeping said revenues and harvests for hemselves.  Initially the barbarians are interlopers.  However,  unless sovereign takes umbrage at being so dispossessed and visits a big ol’ can of kingly whup-ass on the barbarians in a timely manner, said barbarians become the de-facto rulers in the sovereign’s place. This sort of thing isn’t uncommon when sovereigns become too weak or distracted to take an interest in local affairs at the far ends of an over-extended empire.

An emergent form of game-play in EVE Online is for a gang of ‘barbarians’, especially those in need of cash, to hang out in a sov-nullsec system for a while, and rat some anomalies.  In addition to being a means of picking a fight with the locals (“Hey, I’m ratting your sanctum! I’m AFK taking a shower! Come stop me if you can!”), it is a much safer and more lucrative way to make
ISK than ratting in lowsec.

With some slight tweaks to the sovereignty mechanics, this pattern of play could be leveraged to allow supercapital poor (or indifferent) alliances some stake in the nullsec game, and increase the amount of small an medium fleet action in nullsec. 

For example: 

Rixx Javix and his merry band of piratical anarchists have begun to target a sov nullsec system. They camp the system on an ongoing basis. They rat its anomalies and pod any of the locals foolish enough to venture in their direction. They sell the mining rights, take over the POCOs and lie in wait using the miners as bait for sov-holder gangs. If a sov holder fleet too big to handle shows up, they fade away, but always return after the fleet is gone and take up where they left off.   They eschew any grinding of sovereignty infrastructure.
At a certain tipping point, such forces in New Eden as manage claims to sovereignty will say to the owners of that system, “Look. I know you claim overlordship of this system, but I can’t help but notice that Stay Frosty is actually running things there.  They are collecting a substantial majority of the system’s revenues and resources.  You’re not using the system and you are either unwilling or unable to prevent Stay Frosty from so doing.  Thus, you have tacitly surrendered control of this system.  I’m pulling your
sovereignty.”

I call it the Adverse Possession (AKA Squatters Rights) mechanic.

In such cases, from a design standpoint, there are several ways
one could go. My favorite option would be for the Stay Frosty squatters to be offered sovereignty of the system as they have demonstrated effective control over time. In such a scenario, Stay Frosty would have the option to: 
Accept Sovereignty: In this case Stay Frosty gains sovereignty over the system with all the attendant rights and responsibilities.  All existing sovereignty infrastructure, including stations, SCUs and iHubs become Stay Frosty‘s.  If Stay Frosty doesn’t have sufficient funds available to pay the requisite sovereignty costs, accepting sovereignty is not a valid response to the offer. 
Refuse Sovereignty: Sovereignty in the system is dropped. All existing sovereignty structures become unanchored. If Stay Frosty does not respond to the sovereignty offer notification within a set period of time, it is treated as a refusal of the sovereignty offer.
Ransom Sovereignty:  Stay Frosty may offer to ransom the system back to the former sovereignty holder for an amount set by Stay Frosty (pirates, after all). The ransom offer can be made only to the sovereignty holder. If the sovereignty holder accepts within a set period of time, they automatically pay the ransom and retain sovereignty over the system.  If the sovereignty holder refuses or cannot afford to pay the ransom, or fails to respond within the allowed time period, Stay Frosty retains the option to accept or refuse sovereignty, but may not make further ransom offers.

Of course, the sov holder can always unlimber his supercapital fleet and retake sovereignty of a lost system. However, beyond the costs and inconvenience of so doing, we’ve seen the awkward strategic, tactical and political blow-back that can result when sov is lost due to inattention.  And an overextended sovereign engaged in wars elsewhere may find that playing a continuous game of wack-a-mole to reclaim peripheral or low value systems isn’t worth the while.

As I said long ago, one of the things I like about the Dominion Sov mechanics is that they require an active defense of one’s space.  However, with the proliferation of supercapitals, only possessors of large fleets of these ships can contest nullsec sovereignty.  With the consolidation of such fleets into fewer and fewer hands, the need to actively defend sovereign space is on the wane. 

Adverse Possession mechanics would provide subcapital fleets and gangs a meaningful role in nullsec.  Its requirement that sov-holders not only claim systems with sovereignty infrastructure, but actively control them, would inject risk into blue-balling as a strategy against small fleets, and should lead to more subcap PvP dust ups in parts of nullsec that have gotten all too peaceful.  

I do not expect the Adverse Possession mechanic to be popular with nullsec’s current hoi oligoi. It will likely discomfort them.  Their empires would be smaller. Small players, formerly beneath their notice, would enter the sovereignty game. They’d see more visits from lowsec as naughty folk like Rixx Javix and Kaeda Maxwell would have a new way to pick fights in local, and to shake coin from the pockets of the mighty.  The lords of nullsec would rest less easily on their starry beds. 

But this is EVE, and no one should sleep too soundly.  

– Mord Fiddle

About the Author: Mord Fiddle’s writings are an invitation to high tea in a world of rave parties. His readers gather at fiddlersedge.blogspot.com for thoughtful analysis, daring prose, deep insights, and Mord’s tendency to use words not writ nor spoken conversationally since Middle English went out of fashion.

74 Comments

  1. HiHelloHi thereWhat’s up, just wanted to mentionsaytell you, I enjoyedlikedloved this articlepostblog post. It was inspiringfunnypracticalhelpful. Keep on posting!

    September 20, 2019 at 02:49 Reply
  2. Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

    September 24, 2019 at 02:31 Reply
  3. I was recommendedsuggested this blogwebsiteweb site by my cousin. I amI’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no onenobody else know such detailed about my problemdifficultytrouble. You areYou’re amazingwonderfulincredible! Thanks!

    September 24, 2019 at 05:23 Reply
  4. I’veI have been exploring for a little bita littlea bit for any high-qualityhigh quality articles or blogweblog posts in thison this kind ofsort of spaceareahouse . Exploring in Yahoo I at lasteventuallyfinallyultimately stumbled upon this siteweb sitewebsite. ReadingStudying this infoinformation So i’mi am satisfiedgladhappy to expressshowexhibitconvey that I haveI’ve a veryan incredibly just rightgoodexcellent uncanny feeling I found outcame upondiscovered exactlyjust what I needed. I so muchsuch a lotmost without a doubtno doubtundoubtedlysurelycertainlyfor suredefinitelyunquestionablyindisputablyindubitably will make certainsure to don?tdo not put out of your mindforgetfail to rememberoverlookdisregardomit this siteweb sitewebsite and giveand provides it a looka glance on a constanta continuinga relentless basisregularly.

    September 25, 2019 at 16:17 Reply
  5. I wasI used to be able to find good infoinformationadvice from your blog postsblog articlesarticlescontent.

    September 26, 2019 at 04:06 Reply
  6. I think this is a real great blog article.Much thanks again. Want more.

    September 30, 2019 at 09:55 Reply
  7. I am so grateful for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

    October 1, 2019 at 04:37 Reply
  8. .}

    October 1, 2019 at 13:34 Reply
  9. HeyHowdyWhats upHi thereHeyaHiHey thereHello this is kindasomewhatkind of of off topic but I was wonderingwanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledgeskillsexperienceknow-howexpertise so I wanted to get adviceguidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatlyenormously appreciated!

    October 2, 2019 at 03:03 Reply
  10. If you wantdesirewish forwould like to takegetobtain mucha great deala good deal from this articlepostpiece of writingparagraph then you have to apply suchthese strategiestechniquesmethods to your won blogweblogwebpagewebsiteweb site.

    October 2, 2019 at 15:52 Reply
  11. I am reallyactuallyin facttrulygenuinely happypleasedgladdelighted to readglance at this blogweblogwebpagewebsiteweb site posts which containsconsists ofincludescarries lotsplentytons of usefulhelpfulvaluable datainformationfacts, thanks for providing suchthesethese kinds of datainformationstatistics.

    October 3, 2019 at 04:28 Reply
  12. HelloHey thereHeyGood dayHello thereHowdyHi thereHi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okokay. I’m definitelyundoubtedlyabsolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updatesposts.

    October 4, 2019 at 03:22 Reply
  13. HowdyHi thereHiHey thereHelloHey would you mind letting me know which webhosthosting companyweb host you’re utilizingworking withusing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely differentdifferent internet browsersweb browsersbrowsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quickerfaster then most. Can you suggestrecommend a good internet hostingweb hostinghosting provider at a honestreasonablefair price? Thanks a lotKudosCheersThank youMany thanksThanks, I appreciate it!

    October 5, 2019 at 03:38 Reply
  14. I am reallyactuallyin facttrulygenuinely thankfulgrateful to the ownerholder of this websiteweb sitesiteweb page who has shared this greatenormousimpressivewonderfulfantastic articlepostpiece of writingparagraph at hereat this placeat this time.

    October 7, 2019 at 04:19 Reply
  15. It’s hard to finddifficult to findnearly impossible to findhard to come by knowledgeableeducatedwell-informedexperienced people on thisabout thisfor thisin this particular topicsubject, but youhowever, you sound likeseem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    October 7, 2019 at 17:38 Reply
  16. UndeniablyUnquestionablyDefinitely believe that which you statedsaid. Your favorite justificationreason appeared to beseemed to be on the internetnetweb the simplesteasiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitelycertainly get irkedannoyed while people considerthink about worries that they plainlyjust do notdon’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well asand alsoand defined out the whole thing without having side effectside-effects , people cancould take a signal. Will likelyprobably be back to get more. Thanks

    October 8, 2019 at 03:10 Reply
  17. Wow, amazingwonderfulawesomeincrediblemarveloussuperbfantastic blogweblog layoutformatstructure! How longlengthy have youhave you ever been bloggingrunning a blog for? you makemade bloggingrunning a blog glancelook easy. The totalThe entireThe wholeThe fullThe overall glancelook of your siteweb sitewebsite is greatwonderfulfantasticmagnificentexcellent, let aloneas smartlywellneatly as the contentcontent material!

    October 11, 2019 at 17:07 Reply
  18. I am usually to blogging i actually appreciate your posts. The content has really peaks my interest. I will bookmark your website and keep checking for brand new data.

    October 12, 2019 at 10:07 Reply
  19. I’mI am now notnotno longer surepositivecertain wherethe place you areyou’re getting your infoinformation, howeverbut goodgreat topic. I needs tomust spend a whilesome time studyinglearningfinding out moremuch more or working outunderstandingfiguring out more. Thank youThanks for greatwonderfulfantasticmagnificentexcellent informationinfo I used to beI was looking forin search ofon the lookout forsearching for this informationinfo for my mission.

    October 18, 2019 at 16:11 Reply
  20. HiWhat’s upHi thereHello, this weekend is nicepleasantgoodfastidious fordesigned forin favor ofin support of me, becausesinceasfor the reason that this timeoccasionpoint in timemoment i am reading this greatenormousimpressivewonderfulfantastic informativeeducational articlepostpiece of writingparagraph here at my homehouseresidence.

    October 19, 2019 at 16:45 Reply
  21. You reallyactually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topicmatter to be reallyactually something whichthat I think I would never understand. It seems too complicatedcomplex and veryextremely broad for me. I amI’m looking forward for your next post, I willI’ll try to get the hang of it!

    October 20, 2019 at 04:03 Reply
  22. I like thejust like the valuablehelpful informationinfo you supplyprovide for youron yourin yourto your articles. I willI’ll bookmark your weblogblog and testchecktake a look at againonce more hereright here frequentlyregularly. I amI’m ratherquitesomewhatslightlyfairlyrelativelymoderatelyreasonably certainsure I willI’ll be informedbe toldlearn lots ofmanya lot ofplenty ofmany new stuff rightproper hereright here! Good luckBest of luck for the followingthe next!

    October 20, 2019 at 18:14 Reply
  23. Saved as a favoritebookmarked!!, I really likeI likeI love your blogyour siteyour web siteyour website!

    October 21, 2019 at 03:09 Reply
  24. HiGreetingsHiyaHeyHey thereHowdyHello thereHi thereHello! Quick question that’s completelyentirelytotally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blogsiteweb sitewebsiteweblog looks weird when viewingbrowsing from my iphoneiphone4iphone 4apple iphone. I’m trying to find a themetemplate or plugin that might be able to fixcorrectresolve this problemissue. If you have any suggestionsrecommendations, please share. ThanksWith thanksAppreciate itCheersThank youMany thanks!

    October 22, 2019 at 08:56 Reply

Leave a Reply to Shawnna Shewbridge Click here to cancel reply.