Everyone knows changes are coming, but no one knows exactly what those changes will bring. These developments make for fertile fields of speculation. Most of the thought fodder has been spent on the impact to the big boys, their pets, and the hungry mob waiting just beyond the borders.
There is another side of a possible occupancy-based SOV mechanic which I feel is worthy of some attention. Like Macauley Culkin in “Home Alone”, some small alliances and even corporations may wake up one morning to find themselves in charge of the system. SOV in this case may well prove to be a white elephant. Now that you have it, just what the hell you going to do with it? Let’s walk through some of the scenarios that are possible in this eventuality.
Maybe the former owner does not have the resources or will to reclaim the system. It may be too far from their base of operations or perhaps they realize they do not have the headcount to occupy the system properly under the new SOV mechanics. This doesn’t mean they will just wish you the best and go off quietly about their business. Odds are good they will approach you about some sort of mob-style protection ISK. If you don’t agree to pay each month, they come in and kick over your station. Oh wait, my Providence history is showing, if you live in most of null sec space you don’t have a station. Good luck sneaking one into your newly acquired system. Space just got big again, remember? You might be looking at multiple jumps through neutral maybe even hostile space. Either way, the former overlords may choose to come in and kick over your sandcastle in whatever form it may take be that station or POS.
Control over all the precious moon goo is based on moon control and not sovereignty. So even now that you own system XYZ, you still have to deal with your former overlord or some other squatter sitting on that R64 moon you have always wanted. You will need to roll up your sleeves and smash down their POS if you want to start bathing in that sweet moon goo.
During any crisis which disrupts travel, be it a hurricane, earthquake, or war, people quickly run out of the basic items we count on to make our day-to-day life as pleasant as they are. The day before Hurricane Katrina hit, people want another game for their Xbox 360. A week afterwards, they were trading the entire system for a couple gallons of clean water and a roll of toilet paper. Our hypothetical null sec system may well face similar shortages. Basic components and modules will no longer be just a few, relatively safe jumps to the store and back. You will have to establish trade routes, start up cottage industries, or learn to go without. The same issue will be facing those people wanting to move goods to markets in places such as Jita or elsewhere.
At the height of the Roman Empire, the land was mostly free of large bands of marauders. Sure there were random highwayman and no doubt thieves lurked in the heart of many large cities, but any group large enough to cause a significant problem was soon dealt with by the local Roman garrison. When the Empire fell, often the troops which formerly made up the local protective garrison set about the business of becoming marauders themselves in order to feed their various and sundry appetites. This situation may repeat itself in the wilderness areas of null sec. System XYZ can no longer count on a large organized force to respond to any banditry or other assaults which may beset them. In fact, the fleet which weeks ago you counted on to gate camp the entrance to your system now schedule regular raids into your nether regions. You will need to find a way to defend yourself if you have any hope of hanging on to the system which falls into your lap.
Hopefully, alliances and corporations such as the hypothetical one listed here have used the last several weeks and months to prepare themselves for just such a possibility. This preparation could be political, in that they will roll themselves into another larger alliance or they may be girding their loins for combat to hold what they’ve always secretly wanted. Just today a report broke of a large SOV transfer. This may well be individuals preparing for what they see as an inevitable future. One thing is for certain Eve is most likely about to get even more interesting.