Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A tale of two regions

Let's look at regions belonging to the two biggest entities in space, shall we?

Let's start with Deklein, home of Goonswarm Federation.  Here's a view of jumps in this region in 24 hours.  Here's a view of NPC kills in this region in 24 hours.  As you can see, Deklein is a busy place, particularly for null-sec.  Lots of moving around, lots of activity, lots of utilization spread around the region.  Dotlan unfortunately doesn't provide maps of active pilots per system the way the EVE in-game map does, but if it did, you'd see large bubbles of activity throughout the region.  Goonswarm lives in Deklein and they operate in Deklein.

Now let's cross the galaxy and look at Oasa, owned almost entirely by Shadow of xXDEATHXx.  Here's a view of jumps in this region in 24 hours.  Here's a view of NPC kills in this region in 24 hours.  Oh look.  Other than jump bridge systems (which are easy to spot) and the highway between Perrigen Falls and Cobalt Edge, the place is uninhabited and all but completely unused save for a handful of systems.  Again, if you could see this region in the in-game map, you'd see dark, cold, empty space.  No bubbles of activity.  Hm, well perhaps the neighboring regions of Malpais or Perrigen Falls are better.  Nope.  Northeast Etherium Reach?  Nope.  Northeast Outer Passage?  Nope.  And again, if you looked at the in-game map, you'd find few or no bubbles of activity.

Both Shadow of xXDEATHXx and Goonswarm Federation have about 7500 members.  GSF holds 116 systems, about a third of them in recently-conquered Branch, a place they don't intend to live (or even hold for long, most likely).  xXDEATHXx holds 277 systems, again about a third of them taken in the recent DRF civil war.

I think it's pretty clear who's actually using their systems and living in them, though.  And that's how sov should work: if you live in space and use that space, you get to hold sov there.  If you don't, you don't.

It's called "sovereignty by occupation", and it's by far the most popular proposal around how sovereignty should work in EVE.  And it will probably never, ever happen.

Let's look how territory is conquered and held during war-time in real life.

Traditionally, you start by formally declaring war on your target.  You might even choose to publicize a deadline associated with your invasion.  After that, it's traditional these days to go after enemy infrastructure with your air force, artillery, or other long-range assets.  Once this is in full swing, your striking arm hits the defending forces of the territory you're invading, they're pushed back, you advance.  Further attacks on rear echelon infrastructure become possible as you advance and over time, the process accelerates.  As your striking arm moves forward, occupying forces settle into the conquered territory to ensure it stays conquered.

Wars in EVE follow a similar format.  "EVE is real", right?  The planting of SBUs correspond to the formal declaration of war.  Attacks on CSAAs, jump bridges, and other POS structures correspond to the attack on infrastructure.  Battles take place between the defenders and the attacker's striking arm, the defenders are pushed back.  And after the territory is conquered, the attackers go home, leaving the newly-conquered territory completely unoccupied and denuded of all life.

Yeah, OK, maybe wars in EVE are not much like wars in real life.  And neither is sovereignty.  Let's look at an example.

DOCS-O is a very nice little constellation in Oasa sitting on the border of Cobalt Edge.  It has six systems, five of them with an average true-sec of -0.55 or so and a sixth with a true-sec of -0.87.  It's remarkably easy to defend.  Its center system, XXZ-3W, is great for ratting, and has 75 moons and 29 asteroid belts with ABC available, making it ridiculously valuable to any mining alliance.  There's a good mix of planets in the constellation for PI.  There's no ice belt native to the constellation, but there's one only one jump over in the next region.  Plant a station in XXZ and DOCS-O would make an ideal home for a currently-high-sec-bound industrial alliance.

xXDEATHXx has held this constellation continuously for more than three years.  There's no evidence they've ever done anything with it.  There's no evidence that they're EVER going to do anything with it.  As I write this, XXZ has had 15 jumps in the last day, all of them singles or very small groups.  This entire constellation has been owner-less for more than six weeks.  It's nice real estate that a lot of EVE players would enjoy doing their thing in.  It's not for everyone, sure.  A PvP alliance would hate it.  But not everyone in EVE does PvP, do they?

And I'm sure, if you have an industrial alliance, you can have this constellation.  As long as you pay xXDEATHXx through the nose for the privilege of living in a constellation they have no interest in whatsoever.  And as long as you form up every pilot you have for every CTA that xXDEATHXx ever calls.  And as long as you're beholden to xXDEATHXx in every way.  Anyone ready to sign up for that?

And don't get the impression this constellation is unique.  There's other examples all through north and northeast null-sec, and it's becoming an increasing issue in other parts of space as well.

"I don't want it, but you can't have it, either."  That's the message.  That's what null-sec is increasingly looking like.

And DOCS-O is a pretty good constellation with good true-sec.  You can imagine what the bad constellations look like these days.  There are huge swaths of space in null that aren't held at all, or are only held so that the sov-holders will get EVE mail warning if anyone puts staging POSs in them.  Because without the game to tell them, the owners wouldn't know.  These aren't foreclosed houses, where a squatter can live for weeks undetected if you don't hire a security guard.  The owner lives two thousand miles away, but is still notified instantly someone lights the living room lamp or sits in a chair.  No security guard needed.


Sov by occupation would change all of that.  Want to own a system?  Your people have to live there.  If there's no stations, people have to jump in and out, rat, mine, run sites, make the system productive... people in your alliance.  Not your pets.  If your pets come into your more valuable systems to rat and you don't, then ownership of that system shifts to them, not you.  Station ownership should operate by tug-of-war mechanics.  As long as you're there to defend your station access points when they become vulnerable, all is well.  If you're not there, then you might get into system to find the station has new management.  And the people that live in a system have the natural advantage of being there when the station access points become vulnerable.

Want to know why sov by occupation will probably never, ever make it into EVE Online?  One word: renters.

But this post is already ridiculously long, so I'll pick it up again there tomorrow.


  1. You don't occupy in real life anymore Jester either. Slave revolts happen that way. In EVE the serpentis or so would kick your alliance out of null, if it was real life.

    They use counter insurgency now, you only occupy in a way to help the good grow.

    Your point of attacking infrastructure is good. Destroy the bad and hurt it. but the occupy is mostly finding what is good and helping it grow, not a real occupy. that is why afghanistan and Iraq had election, help it grow not a full occupation.

  2. Sov-by-occupation + Renters = Treaties

    Treaties are something that was promised as part of Dominion Sov but never delivered.

    This post was not ridiculously long. For ridiculously long, check out my bunch of verbal diarrhoea about industry, based on Seleene's industry blog :)

    1. Dang, Mara, you beat me to it.

      I agree that the only way to make sov-by-occupation work well would include treaties. In my opinion they should include quite a few things:
      -What systems the renters have access to
      -What infrastructure they can use (stations, etc.)
      -What they're allowed to do in that space
      -What moons they can mine
      -Whether the owner agrees to protect them or not
      -Whether the owner agrees not to attack them (for sport, say)
      -What the renters owe the owners
      and for less renter-specific treaty options
      -Non-aggression pacts
      -Ability to trade sov/stations/etc. for ISK (with other alliances)
      -War treaties (both agree to attack the same foe)

      None of this would work well on its own. You need additional in-game statistics to at least help enforce them.
      -How safe have previous renters been (and were they guaranteed protection?)
      -Did previous renters get to use the things they were promised?
      -Did this renter corp previously pay its bills on time?
      -Did this corp show up for fleet ops in the past (and in what numbers)?
      -Did this alliance violate non-aggression pacts (and how many individuals violated, and what consequences)?
      -Did this alliance uphold past war treaties? (how many ships of which classes aggressed the foe?)

      Statistics that stick with a corp/alliance seem like the only way to enforce this kind of stuff. Gameplay should be emergent, (future renters don't rent from a bad landlord) rather than top-down (game mechanics guaranteeing the rights of a treaty).

  3. SOV should work with a modified incursion bar.

    You need 'X' large amount of points to maintain sovereignty. Each rat killed, asteroid mined, planet exploited, anomaly finished etc gives you +'Y' small amount of points. Each enemy ship destroyed gives you +'Z' large amount of points. Building/capturing stations gives even more points. When your corp/alliance owns 51% of the points sovereignty changes hands.

  4. You might be interested in having a read through this:


    1. Funny, that.


  5. How do you fight over territory in such a system? If living or ratting in a system was how sov was determined, there would be no big fights over territory. The closest that would come to that would be eternal hell camps of attacked systems, with previous inhabitants boxed into stations and poses while the attackers rat in order to steal sov. That sounds awful. Dominion sov may suck, but at least it forces large fleet battles, which is exactly what many people drawn to 0.0 want. Any new system should also encourage at least some large fleet combats

    1. What if there was no sovereignty? Either you defend your infrastructure or you don't.

      Dominion forces large structure bashing fights. These aren't anywhere near as dynamic or interesting as spontaneous large fleet fights: you know, the type that start with someone probing down a super carrier in an anomaly and end with alliances fail-cascading.

    2. Solve that by making the "occupy" only count if you are in space. AFK in a station counts as 0, flying in space counts as 1. In a pos counts as .5? Would force everyone into space which could turn into blob cat and mouse at worst, but eventually there is going to be a fight.

    3. Infinite cloaked alts in space wins Eve?

  6. "Want to know why sov by occupation will probably never, ever make it into EVE Online? One word: renters."
    So Mittens, UAxDeath, et al (the "nullsec bloc") use their "lolCSM clout" to keep a system most everyone agrees sucks in place, because it benefits them and theirs directly?
    *gasp* NOOO! Say it ain't SO, George, say it ain't so!
    Cause if that's the implication, it DOES seem EVE mirrors RL exactly, after all! *dramatic musical sting* ;-)

  7. Sometimes, you need to change to keep things the same.

  8. I'd vote for any Candidates that push this.

    Would this system give wSpace sov?

  9. That DOCS-O constellation had tengu bots in it for atleast 5 or 6 months before IRC kicked them out when they invaded Oasa, those systems have been empty for maybe a month, or two. That being said legion of xdeath is a sinking ship, nobody that rents wants to rent in a region thats on fire. LOD is red to IRC, and the DOCS-O constellation is in titan jump range of more then half of cobalt, it's not a good place to live if you rent, and have no intrest in PvP.

  10. i like the idea...but to make it fair keep the system in place to gain a sov system but change how you can lose it by adding this. if you dont use the system or live in the system you will lose it over time..say within a week or 2 so much has to be done in the system. now if you loose the system from lack of activity it becomes 2 to 3 times hard to claim it again or even a time span to re clam it or both. now others can move into these system and you still the large fleet fights to try and take them over again

  11. Renters aren't the issue. Change it and you'll still get mega alliances claiming more space than they can use. They'll just farm it out to Sov holding renter alliances created by the mega alliances.

    The real issue is, again, super capitals. Small alliances cannot move into the under utilized space because they can't fight the capital blob. They can't get capitals of their own because they don't have SOV to build them in. The game has moved on, and the days of being able to make it in 0.0 without having a super capital fleet are long gone. Anyone who tries is only there until someone notices and drops a fleet on them.

    At this point the system is so far gone it can't be fixed. Sov Mechanics and Super Capital mechanics feed into each other, and have been feeding into each other for so long that no one else can enter the pool.

    1. This... I've been saying it for a while.

      The best possible fix would be to allow CSAAs to be anchored anywhere in Low-sec/Null-sec and to not light up like a beacon at night when they are anchored. Allow the small alliances to build their own super fleet and suddenly they can take a small pocket of space and hold it.

    2. Without supercapitals, those small alliances would of course easily fight off a fleet of 100+ battleships lead by experienced FC.

      Realistically, the only way to make small alliances viable is to make space travel difficult, so gathering lots of people in one place is difficult. For that, we already have wormholes. If you want to be small and viable, go there.

      Please to not nerf the ability (and the motivation) to have vast space battles with thousands of people - I think they are the coolest thig in EVE.

    3. I think the SOV mechanic is also a contributing factor, but the disparity between haves and have-nots is the biggest problem. There is just no room for small groups to step slowly into the pool called nulsec. Either you jump into the deep water and hope the group your with can teach you to swim, or you struggle back to the side and hop out to go someplace where you aren't at risk of drowning all the time.

      I'd like to see SOV change so that the the owner can dictate the type of fight they are able to handle. A certain level of infrastructure and reward is equated to a specific amount of risk. I'll work on posting to my blog this weekend some more ideas around this concept.

    4. It's not just capitals. I think a few hundred Goon drakes would make things pretty unlivable for a small alliance.

  12. "Life there" means null sec needs more people. Less than 20% "live" in 0.0. And its accounts. Remember that 0.0 pilots are prone to multi accounts compared to the high sec carebears.

    So there. Null sec is empty. Didnt you know? Less than 20% live there thats why CCP doesn't care.

    1. But the point why they don't live there is (in some cases) that they just don't want to obedient to this large entity which don't care about them but just want their money because they could crush them if they want.
      Once the renter is in trouble you might get there help but maybe they just don't want to right now.

      I think many small entities would love to take there on space and defend it against equal forces but with bored dudes around who will just drop more supers than you have members it won't happen too soon.

  13. Oh Jester,...wait let me grab my coffe quick.....

    ok back, so where do I start here...hmmm, ah k got it.

    First of all you can´t compare the goons with Shadow! Well to be honest, you can´t compare the >Goonies< with any other alliance in this game. =)

    Shadow is a pure renting alliance, as you should know, so there are a little bit other rules running than in a sov holding "pvp" alliance.
    If you want to show a dotlan sample of activity then you should take Perrigen Falls or Malpais and not the region we currently fought for.
    Nobody will rent systems and/or constellation with an active enemy in your neighbourhood.
    And also there is no mandatory CTA in Shadow, the fleets running in Shadow are free to join, nothing more, nothing less.

    It´s sad to see how you try to bring negative infos on the table, of a thing you don´t got a clue about.
    Well it´s hard to get good political infos in the syndicate area you live in.
    Don´t get me wrong I like you and your writing style, but it seems like Garth is taking over from post to post you make.

    PS: Sorry for my bad grammar and stuff....Im german and just got up XD

  14. under your system i can imagine a mafia style shakedown happening every month. either you pay your dues or we ref everything you own until you do. might as well have rented it in the first place.

  15. One thing eve also needs is logistics, any warship fleet that goes out to fight should have its own logistics fleet behind it just like real life.

    Force projection is a huge deal but it should only work with a huge logistical effort (as in real life), making logistical corps/industrial corps an asset in an alliance and thus wanted.

    More fuelneeds, more ammoneeds, more everything, hell spare parts! But that would need a basic rewrite of the mechanics of ships maintenance or at the very least larger fuel requirements for capitals. Perhaps after apocalypse a logistical update is needed where Q ships/convoys/industrial miners etc are fleshed out as part of a warfleet. (not unlike blockade runners who run with a bomber/black ops fleet to supply additional bombs etc)

    On the other hands, alliances like the CVA have been build on NRDS (some others also) would be left out on an occupancy based system. The need for "treaties" as CCP stated it is clear. That perhaps is one reason to vote for seleene in the CSM because he was part of the dominion team that got nerfed by management into the current dominion system.

  16. Most countries lay claim to fairly large areas of wilderness or otherwise undeveloped/unused land. Does that mean the Pentagon should or would ignore it if Canada decided to annex a large chunk of Montana on the grounds that no one was using it?

    1. Now that I think about it, why haven't we Murricans annexed large swaths of Can-eh-dia on the same grounds?
      Then again we're NRDS, and we have "treaties" with Can-eh-dia.
      On the other hand, SOV in southern Murrica should be turned back over to Messico, by Jester's standards. ;-)

  17. Sadly have to agree with Teut.
    CCP managed to create an "endgame" that hardly anybody uses.
    And their brilliant idea to solve this dilemma usually involves nerfing already mind-numbingly boring activities in high-sec.
    Or introduce ridiculously easy exploitable cash FOUNTAINS with those Incursions.

    I had high hopes for this game when some DEVs got fired and those stubborn Icelandic bastards stared to listen to their fucking cash-cows for a change.

    But so far I don´t see much real innovation and true gameplay change. Only long overdue tweaks in the UI/database and new "loot all" buttons(seriously? I waited fucking 8 years for this?).

  18. When I was going into nullsec for the second time (a quick roam, just to see what it was like), what surprised me was the emptiness of it. Jump after jump after jump, and pretty much nothing happened. A
    nd I remember seeing a youtube clip recently, of someone travelling 60 or 80 jumps through nullsec, which had basically the same message.
    Some regions might be busy sometimes, but there's large swathes of unused space. Too bad!

  19. I don't see any problem with this dichotomy, the reason is that obviously is that the Drone Regions is a diarrhea of systems splattered about that lends itself more to large singular powers controlling instead of other regions in EVE that have a lot more distance between them thus allowing for more alliances to flourish. I speak of this more in terms of capital jump range, since logistics are usually the life blood capsuleer fiefdoms. And if you look at the map in the terms of light years distance, it takes a lot longer to bring supplies back and forth from the drone regions than it does say from Deklien to Caldari space.

    Then their's the fact that ratters on average prefer bounties over drone alloys because it's much easier to kill the rat take the bounty over killing the rat and hauling the stuff to the local refinery for processing. The former one requires a minimal amount effort, while the latter one requires at least the pilot switching ships or having an alt in a hauler to take the stuff.

    Don't get me wrong the sov by occupation is a very good strategy in practice, I mean it what's been used by many world powers over the ages. Occupation of the enemy country side, passifying enemy funded rebels, genocide, raping the land, all that can be accomplished through Sov by Occupation. But in my firm belief any system trying to dictate sov in an arbitrary fashion is un-needed in EVE. I guess I'm harkening back to the days when in order to defend your space you would fight for it against occupation, either by killing them in the field or station ping pong.

    While I can see why people don't want to go back to station ping pong, their does need a fun sov system in place for people. And structure bashing fights are not fun in any which way, their grindy and massive waste of time.

    Now, the system that I have been thinking about since EVE players have come to 0.0 space in the early days is a system of controlling gates by either A). a hacking minigame that would make it necessary for the need of hacking ships and hacking software as well as defensive measures like firewalls and encryption keys for gates; B). structure fights centered around who controls the field not who takes down the structure, aka king of the hill or territories in many fps modern shooters; or C). A system utilizing placing flags on gates and planets instead of moons or territorial claims units that makes the defender need to fight to get rid of the flags (to be clear the flags would have very little health and would make necessary for someone to defend it, thus causing the break up forces causing smaller fights and more numerous fights). Any of these options would be step of from the current system, however, implementation is another problem in itself. I can list all these things nilly willy but trying to program them and get them in the game is another matter entirely.

    I really feel for the programmers, told to due things that they have no clue how to do, and using existing code to do it is a difficult job and not an easy job either. I have basic computer programming skills at the moment, so the task that I have list is a lot of work, and that a lot of work is why it won't work. The best kind of solution is simple, clean and an efficient use of the programmers time. This system is not that, is Jester's occupational system like that either, I'm not sure. But since I am not a CCP game programmer, I do not have the foresight to see whether this can be implemented or not, until the day we can actually see talk about what CCP can and can't do. I'll keep thinking, and keep my skills up.

    1. Now here's an interesting :coolidea: that also "makes sense" from a story/game-universe perspective:
      Codebreakers as PvP modules. Used to unanchor GSCs/anchorable bubbles, etc. In faaaact...that deserves its own post. ;-)

  20. Jester, a few comments on your review:
    1) That const in OASA you are speaking about - it is a straight road between IRC and rest of OASA, first const to be taken by their backstabbing.
    2) It was occupied by bots, usual tengu+exeq setup, was petitioning them for 2 month in Autumn but nothing happen. When war started, guy(s?) just packed stuff and moved.
    3) "As long as you pay xXDEATHXx through the nose for the privilege of living in a constellation they have no interest in whatsoever. And as long as you form up every pilot you have for every CTA that xXDEATHXx ever calls. And as long as you're beholden to xXDEATHXx in every way. Anyone ready to sign up for that?" - renters pay fee, everything else is bullshit. Renters are invited (rental fee decrease a a reward) to participate in PvP, but not forced. I used to fly with xix to CTA in 2008, when they were good. Now it's just a bunch of peasants, who were PvPing by dropping moms on random hurricanes, I do not like being thrown as a cannon fodder with useless FCs and pilots who do not know what focus is. :)

  21. Part 1).

    It's an idea that's been thrown back and forth a bit, I admit as much, before the dominion changes took hold their was some talk at least in Fanfest 2007 - 2008 about transitioning the Sov system to one of Player Owned Starbases to the control and management of gates. Of course, that whole thing was centered around whether players should have the ability to put down sentry turrets like those that exist in Low Security space.

    This system (it is not 'my' system because while I have invested time to planning it out and thinking about, it's just an iteration of talk that's happen in the past) could allow for medium or regional alliances to take hold, given that gates are the lifeblood of EVE. Even if a lot of travel is currently being done through jump bridges, jump portals and jump drives for getting to point A to B usually involves taking star gates. Of course, the mechanics of are still being worked out.

    My own personal view of adaptability would utilize a mixture of A). and B). in my first post. To gain sov in a system you first have to control the field, i.e. the gates and then you hack your way into them. Of course you need to defend your hackers, because they'll be participating in hacking into the gate while you control the field. Probably hacking ships will have to utilize highly advanced hacking software that depends more on the player skill and intelligence than in game gear and so forth (of course, given game restraints this can change). Those that are hacking into the gate will probably be vulnerable thus they need to be protected at all costs from enemy stealth bombers, alphas, and other forms of attack. Once they control the gate it adds points to a gradient system. It works best if all the gates being hacked at the same time, thus Sov can be removed quickly and without hours killing structures. It would also make small gangs effective, removing the barrier to entry.

    Of course, what would happen if a power looses sov in that system obviously they wouldn't be able to use any sov related mechanics like jump bridges, cyno generators, player infrastructure and like. While I would like to have it where if you But what about stations you may ask?

  22. Part 2).

    Stations are a problem of their own if you would, on one hand you have a large structure costing billions of ISK that makes space habitable, on the other hand it's giant hit point box you need to attack and then repair once you conquer that system. The system that is oriented around gates would make them like gates, you need to control the station and then hack into the station to control it. Of course hacking into a station should be much more difficult then hacking into a gate let's say, and while I believe having one person on a gate is satisfactory have 4 to 5 people actively hacking a station would be the best compromise.

    Of course what about the defenders and Player Operated Starbase well, hacking into a starbase sounds alright until you start to think how this can be exploited. Think about it, if you an alliance doesn't want to give up a system they'll spam anchored small POSes on every money thus making hacking 70 or so starbase miserable. Or even worse taking a dread fleet and shooting all those structures, yuck. Instead, once you gain control of a system, POSes that are enemy held have certain amount of time before they de-active and fall to disrepair. I would like to think a week is good as well, this goes the same for invaders POSes unless they gain sov or at least contested status their own POSes goes to default. Lore wise you can point out that enemy hackers or artificial intelligence agents are slowly hacking away at the barriers of mostly robotic control towers, and after a certain time they break through and stuff them down.

    But on to the defenders, the defenders of course have the home field advantage, what tools should they have to block an invasion of their system. Well, actually living in their space like Jester said would be a perfect way to prevent that, but I feel that's just not enough. I think being able to shut down 1 gate in a system at a time (of course, the enemy can hack through this) is a possibility. Putting gate guns on null security space gates, to say the least is not a very conformable idea. Being able to counter hack the hackers that are hacking into the gates from a central networking center is a possibility. Their is a lot of other possibilities that I have thought of that, maybe one day I'll release in my 23 page report on it, however I also know any system man creates in his head is one thing but to apply to actual reality of world or a game engine is another matter entirely. It's theory vs. practicality in essence, this system might sound good on paper but to actually due in the field might lead to being something worse than dominion.

    Man am I tired of writing, I can't understand how jester writes so much. Anyway, if you have any questions send them to Tempestasaurum@gmail.com

    P.S. Guess what that stands for in Latin (heh).


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