The Fall of ZXB-VC and the End of Dominion

Today was what will likely be the last gigantic battle of Dominion. We killed 170b and lost 15b~ of shit, our enemies sacrificed upwards of 60 caps and TCUs are onlining within the next two hours in ZXB-VC, the Entrance to Delve. We have our foothold, we’ve kicked down the door, and we’re in.

-Blawrf McTaggart to all at 2015-04-08 23:59:11.908198 EVE

As I sat at the office yesterday working on an issue from a customer, the war in Delve reached a crescendo as the final time for the system ZXB-VC counted down.  Our foes had already lost several systems in Delve up to this point.  But those losses, while indicative of the way the war was going, were not all that important; those were tolerable losses.

But ZXB was different.

ZXB has a station in it, a place the CFC could turn into a forward staging system within Delve, making the commute to conquest all that much shorter.  And it was also the staging system of our foe, so their forces were already on hand, ready to defend.  Capital ships battled and subcap fleets clashed as I sat at my desk at work.  I pulled up a Twitch stream at one point and saw a mass of titans engaging the station.

ZXB Station Besieged

ZXB Station Besieged

The CFC won even with Brave and a drifter battleship assisting N3.  According to the narrative over at TMC (EN24 apparently declined to cover the battle at this time) the total combined losses for both sides added up to at least 153 billion ISK (or just ove 4.1 million WoW gold at today’s exchange rate) with losses tilted heavily against N3.

Seven systems have now changed hands in Delve, up from the three earlier this week. (Not sure who the EON Alliance is, but they now have sovereignty in Delve.)

South East corner of Delve

South East corner of Delve

The war could be far from over.  There are 78 more conquerable systems in Delve held by N3, with 44 stations, along with twelve NPC systems, each of which has an “open to all” station from which the enemy could stage to prolong the fight.

On the CFC side we are, of course, hearing the usual “hostiles are evac’ing to low sec” rumors.  And while the latest alliance updates from Darkness and The Kadeshi say that the fight will go on, N3 does appear to be under considerable pressure with the hammer of the CFC capital fleet hitting them in Delve, the Reavers burning fields in Querious, and now Pandemic Legion, having been hired by the CFC, going after N3 holdings in Esoteria and Feythabolis.  There might be more fights or it might be time for N3 to pull back into a tighter defense, if peace is out of the question.

So CFC Sky Marshall Blawrf McTaggart (who was getting some attention over at Polygon during the fight) might end up being correct in calling this the last gigantic battle during the era of Dominion sovereignty, because, come June, CCP says it will be rolling out a new set of sovereignty mechanics.  Gone will be the SBUs and myriad of timers and what not, and in its place we will have the Entosis links and an attempt to meet some goals laid out in early March.

The Dominion expansion changes will be thrown down.

Dominion - December 2009

Dominion – December 2009

At this late date I think it is safe to say that the Dominion sovereignty changes, if not universally reviled, are at least not viewed as an ideal way to run the whole conquerable space aspect of EVE Online.  There are voices from all parts of the game asking for change.

So, as we approach the June changes, it seems like an appropriate time to look back at Dominion and what CCP was trying to do back in late 2009.

Fortunately Sugar Kyle already has a post up, as part of her review of EVE Online expansions, that goes over the Dominion expansion.

I was there and playing the game when this dropped, but barely remember a bit of what came out.  But I wasn’t in null sec at the time and I was probably paying more attention to the Siege of Mirkwood expansion that was landing in LOTRO at about the same time.

So sitting here in 2015 reading the Breaking the Chains Dev Blog that speaks to the planned changes for Dominion brings about an eerie sense of… well… not exactly déjà vu, but certainly a feeling of familiar ground.

You can pull some quotes out of CCP Abathur’s 2009 post that would fit right into the current discussions of null sec sovereignty.  At one point I was flipping between that dev blog and the March 2015 sov dev blog and I lost track of which one I was reading.

Perhaps my favorite quote in the whole 2009 document is this one:

…there is no one thing that causes more consternation amongst players than the seemingly endless task of shooting towers.

Okay, I know that in the pre-Dominion scheme of things, towers were how sovereignty was held, so the reasons to attack them have changed, but I’ll be damned if the seemingly endless task of shooting towers has abated one bit.  In Reavers we shoot towers night and day.  There are people who have become connoisseurs of tower configuration, and I hear each tower we hit critiqued on coms as we reinforce it.  (Sometimes module locations even contain a message.)

More on point, there is this quote:

No matter what happens, there will always be important things to shoot.  The key is finding a balance between allowing smaller gangs of raiders to disrupt the day to day operations of your space against requiring massive battleship and capital fleets to actually remove you from the same space.  Conquest of space in Dominion will differ greatly from what exists currently, as will the ability of roaming gangs to cause an ‘AFK Empire’ no end of frustration.

Just as raiders will be presented new opportunities to create havoc, aggressors intent on all out conquest will have to carefully weigh their plans and make decisions on what and where to attack first.  Strategies that work in one system may completely fail in the next.  Defenders of space in Dominion will have new ways of defending their space as well.  These tools will not replace a proper defense force but they will provide new and exciting options which ensure that not every fight is the same and will reward investment in military infrastructure.

You could almost pull that directly forward into the 2015 dev blog and have it make sense in the context of the current discussion.  I am looking forward to the June changes myself… a little bit of chaos can be fun… but a little voice in the back of my brain is saying, “This time for sure!” in a mocking tone.  We shall see.

Anyway, the war in Delve is still on for now, Reavers are still roaming Querious, Pandemic Legion has its contract for the other side of N3 space, and CCP’s sovereignty changes are still a ways out.  There is plenty of time left for another big battle or two if both sides want it.

4 thoughts on “The Fall of ZXB-VC and the End of Dominion

  1. Jester

    From an external observer’s perspective, I cannot see how Fozziesov is going to change very much. To get additional groups into sov, those theoretical additional groups have to the capability to take sov: dozens of FCs and hundreds of pilots. The ones that have the capability are already there.

    Also, CCP Abathur = Seleene of CSMs 6 and 7. He stated many times that Dominion sov was intended to be the first step of a several step program… only the follow-on steps were never done.

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  2. Easy Esky

    With numbers and professional organisation the CFC has practically won Eve. FozzieSov just introduces for fodder for when CFC gets bored. All other primary Eve null-empires which have historically fallen were primary role-play amateurs. There is a reason why professionals are segregated in sports. Something impossible with in Eve.

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  3. SynCaine

    Somewhat related, I wonder if null could work a bit like WH space. In WH space, the top groups own the ‘best’ space, but due to the mechanics they aren’t encouraged and realistically can’t expand and control large portions of WH space, while still being able to invade and ‘evict’ anyone if they were motivated/angry enough.

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