Tag Archives: Imperial Null Sec

Null Sec Lords Come Together for “The Null Deal”

Fixing null sec has been a discussi0n point for a few months now.  All sorts of pet philosophies have been floated about power projection, apex forces, travel, fleet sizes, the effectiveness of logistics, how easy or difficult it ought to be to take a system away from another null sec entity, what actions/efforts should be required to even hold sovereignty, to going back to the pre-Dominion system of sovereignty.

Which ever theory is your favorite, the consensus seems to be that null sec needs to be changed.  Big battles in null sec garner the most attention for the game, but right not the effort it takes to actually run a war is beyond what anybody really wants to commit to.  The giant brawls are the shiny jewels in the crown of null sec, but having been through a few sovereignty wars now, I can say that actual victory goes to side that can maintain a hellish operational tempo the longest.  Winning is wearing out your enemy, and the inevitable “fail cascade” in a war generally amounts to one side declining to show up for a seemingly endless string of timers and structure shoots.

Null Sec Sov - Sept. 28, 2014

Null Sec Sov – Sept. 28, 2014

So everybody involved seems to want to fix null sec, CCP included.  We’ve admitted we have a problem. Now how do we fix it?

Towards that end, members of the major sovereignty holding null sec entities, including N3, Pandemic Legion, and the CFC, have come together to draft a list of things that they feel are important to a successful update of null sec.  The list is short, with just three items, that I would summarize as:

  • Occupancy Based Sovereignty – You should only be able to hold the systems your alliance lives in and uses.
  • NPC areas in all null sec regions – NPC null is the spring board for smaller groups to inject themselves into null sec, however much of sovereign null sec is out of reasonable range from NPC null stations.
  • Increased Player Density – A backwards way of saying that null sec systems should be able to support more player activity.  Right now based on various factors, systems can only support so many players ratting or mining or running anomalies, and there are many systems that support so little of each that they are essentially useless and are held only because the alliance in question holds the systems around it.

You can read more detail here on what is meant by each of these propositions, and who has signed on the bottom line in support, but they strike me as a reasonable and positive set of goals for a new null sec system, as opposed to a lot of the talk that has gone on over the summer, which focuses a lot on just altering one mechanism or another from the current system.

Of course, any change is a long way off.  CCP has to lay a lot of groundwork in their code just to be able to change things from what I have heard.  We may have to get things in bits and pieces over time.

There is, of course, a forum threadnaught associated with this as well.

The Prospects for Action this Summer

It’s entertaining how people who vow to destroy us somehow feel entitled to ‘content’ from us…

-The Mittani, comment on the Cold War CEO Update

The current Goonswarm Federation CEO update, which also stands in for an update for the CFC, says there will be no summer war.

But there is always a summer war, right?  I am not sure why.  You would think some of us would go on vacation.  Instead, when school is out, wars flare up, and I don’t think it is just because of DBRB alone. (Didn’t I hear he graduate recently?)  So summer tends to be a campaign season.

The thing is that wars, big wars, wars over sovereignty in null sec, tend to go badly in the end for those opposing the CFC, at least during the last two and a half years I have been in the coalition. (That is correlation, not causation.)  When a sov grind is at hand, we win.

Go ask the remains of White Noise, or Raiden, or TEST how things went for them.  But don’t bother looking for them on the sovereignty map.

White Noise in Branch

White Noise in Branch

As for those left on the map, ask Northern Coalition why they no longer live in the north.  Or ask Nulli Secunda about their time in low sec. (Though they did bounce back from that.)  Or ask Pandemic Legion about what happened to a quarter of their titan fleet back in January or about the B0RTlord agreement.  You can say the CFC is bad at EVE, but we seem to win a lot.

So nobody is going to come get us and try and take our space.

And we are already spread out enough that we aren’t exactly dying for some more sovereignty to hold.

So unless there are plots afoot… and for all I know, there may very well be plots afoot, since none of the few remaining players in null sec are dumb enough to telegraph their intentions in advance… the prospect for a summer war sovereignty war seems to be pretty small.

Which is, of course, an issue.  The problem with The Mittani’s statement at the top is that it cuts both ways.  While he was responding to somebody who wanted to know why the CFC wouldn’t play ball in such a way to ensure the elusive “good fights,” it is still incumbent upon him and the leadership of the CFC to provide content for its members.  I wrote previously that the CFC is a coalition of the willing in large part because the leadership provides content… wars and conquest and victory… and perks to the membership.  Owning all that space doesn’t get people into fleets.  The possibility of battles does.

So what will we do this summer?

I have been lucky so far this month.  Black Legion, no longer on the CFC payroll, has been reinforcing towers and running around Pure Blind from their base in X-7OMU.  So, rather conveniently for me, every evening in my time zone there seems to be a fleet op under Reagalan to go defend a tower, or shoot a tower, or otherwise try to tangle with Black Legion.  The rumor early on in the month was that Black Legion was itself facing some sort of crises of content, as Elo Knight can only get people to log in and be active if there are people to shoot regularly.  So Black Legion keeps coming out to play on the same schedule.

I haven’t been there for any big fights… except for the trap at Daras… but have been around enough to get on a few kill mails when I haven’t been flying logistics.  It has been a good time to get used to flying the Guardian, with its cap chain requirements and such.  Otherwise we nibble at each other most nights, catching the sloppy or unlucky, while we warp around this system or that.  Occasionally somebody makes a mistake and one side gets a clean shot at the other, but mostly it is marching and counter marching to gain some measure of advantage, almost like Wellington during parts of the peninsular campaign.  Most nights there hasn’t been much to write home about, so I haven’t even put together a post about those ops yet. (Tentative title: The Same Thing We Do Every Night Pinky; Shoot Black Legion!)  But they keep coming up.

How long Black Legion will provide a distraction I do not know.  They do persist, and I suppose they have nowhere else to go.

Another option seems to be Providence.  Much is being written about that as the place to be for content this summer.  And a region is certainly a big enough place for a small war of entertainment.  But if you start pulling in the three big players from imperial null sec, the ante tends to go up.  “Good fights” rarely trumps “playing to win,” and those with masses of capital ships and super capitals will tend to use them if that is what needs to be done to win.  N3 and PL are already deployed down there, and while there has been no official CFC-wide deployment to the region, some groups have been flying down there looking for fights.  What happens if all three of the big groups deployed in the region is an open question.  Does it automatically have to escalate to capitals?  If the elephants jump in the pool, will we push out all the water… and the fun with it?

And that looks like about it.  Nothing like last year’s war in Fountain… some of the best entertainment ever… seems to be in the offing.

What other options are out there for the imperial coalitions this summer?

 

A Consolidation of Empires

I will be interest to read what Andrew Groen has to say in his planned book A History of the Great Empires of EVE Online (the Kickstarter has six days to go as of today) about the state of affairs that exist today in null sec space.

Life is change of course.  Nothing stays the same.  But the very face of null sec seems to have changed quite a bit since I wandered out of empire space a couple of years back. (Maps from the usual source)

Null Sec as I joined it - Dec 18. 2011

Null Sec as I joined it – Dec 18. 2011

That is a pretty chaotic map, at least by today’s standards.  And look at the bulk of the CFC packed cheek-by-jowl into the space between Cloud Ring and Deklein.  We were such close bros back then and questions about who got to rat where seemed like a big deal.

I wrote semi-jokingly back in January about the nature of the conflict then running in null sec, describing the three in terms of the three competing empires in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.  It seemed apt at the moment, and the big battle at B-R5RB seemed to be quite a setback for the group I tagged as Eastasia.

And then Eurasia collapsed and now we have three big powers on the map again, only rather than empires constantly at war, they are starting to take on the look of mercantile empires, having turned their conquests into rental space.  One third of the 3,524 systems that make up null sec space are part of one of the three great rental alliances, Northern Associates, Brothers of Tangra, or the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, and I expect that number to grow some more as time goes on.

Age of Rentals - May 18, 2014

Age of Rentals – May 18, 2014

The CFC is the furthest behind in this regard, with only 134 systems in its rental pool.  But it is also the last of the three accept rentals as a source of income, its past disparaging view of the slumlords of null sec being overridden by the ISK advantage it was giving potential (and actual) foes.  The CFC also suffers from being something of a fragmented coalition, each with its own set of policies and ambitions.  As much as Gevlon likes to call all non-GSF members of the CFC “slaves,” it is far more a coalition of the willing.  The Mittani is more akin Caesar than Pharaoh.  He has his enemies, but he gives the rank and file what they want, war and victories and ISK, all of which have been delivered regularly during my time in the coalition.

However, now we seem to be reaching a point of stasis in null sec… though every time I have thought that in the past, a new war has broken out.  And while I do not share Gevlon’s conspiracy theory on what the purpose of the new alliance in the CFC, The Bastion, might be, they did choose to frame their relationship as a suzerainty under The Mittani.

That is a very specific term, which flags The Bastion as a vassal state to The Mittani or Goonswarm, handing over foreign affairs to them while keeping some control over its internal policies.  Now, whether or not that reflects the true state of affairs or if it just a case of somebody breaking out the thesaurus for fun has yet to be seen.  But if it does turn out to be something akin to the non-Goon recruiting arm of the CFC controlled by the Goonswarm Federation, the dynamic of the CFC could shift.  And I have already seen one blogger from The Bastion talking about what new players should expect in the alliance.

Way out ahead in the rental scheme is Northern Coalition, which currently has 668 systems in its rental pool.  Having wrapped up their consolidation of the southeast, they announced they were taking a break from sovereignty grinding to refit, emphasizing the need to get members into super carriers and titans.  With their rental holdings, they will have the ISK to subsidize this effort, which makes it much more likely to come to fruition.

That seems to be the way things are headed.  Pandemic Legion is heavy on supers, and in the CFC there has been a push to get pilots into dreadnaughts and carriers, while there was a comment at one point that we CFC pilots ought to push towards supers if possible.

After B-R5RB, Jester went with a historical analogy to describe why he thought that the current war in particular, and sovereignty warfare in general, was over in null sec.  The dominance of the CFC in supers was going to crush the N3 coalition and then nobody would ever be able to challenge the CFC again.  No more big fights in null sec.

Only N3 didn’t get crushed.  Instead the CFC backed off, the Russians imploded, and now Northern Coalition and its allies blanket more of null sec than ever before.  Meanwhile, what B-R5RB seemed to do is make having a force of super caps a requirement while making losing supers now and again acceptable.  Now we have three entities building up supers on the backs of their rental income who know they can only gain advantage by taking out any super cap force opposing them.  Plus, you know, kids want to take their toys out and play or they’ll get bored with them.

So we are back to three dominant empires ala the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, though I am not sure who ought to be who any more.  There is at least one public sovereignty non-agression pact between PL and the CFC.  There is a quiet super cap arms race going on, with each side building up lest they be left behind.  And, as Daras showed, there is a willingness to whip them out when a choice target appears.

And then there is the slice of null sec that isn’t occupied by the three main empires, which is now thinner than ever.  Looks like just Providence, Catch, and Querious at this point.  That isn’t much.  Everybody else has made common cause with at least one of the big three.  And not only can’t that area expand without a mass of supers of their own (and where are they going to get the ISK for that without a vast rental empire of their own), that isn’t a lot of entertainment for what I suppose we might as well call Imperial Null Sec at this point.

So where will null go?  Will it be stagnation or bloody super capital warfare?

I know, I know, why can’t we have both?

Now what is it going to take for me to train an alt up to a titan…