Four of Paxton’s Providence systems fell over the weekend; three of which had stations in them. You’ll recall that The Paxton Federation’s holding in Providence occupied a long strand of systems running through the center of the region. Over the weekend U’K and the other Against All Authorities (AAA) vassals clipped off either end of that strand.
Sifting through the smack-talk on the subject at Kugutsumen’s, it’s evident that the change in EVE sovereignty mechanics has made possessing systems more costly, both in terms of monthly fees and having to actively defend sovereign systems. Under the old sovereignty scheme with its POS-based mechanics, a relatively small force could hold out for an extended period against a much larger force.
While the revised scheme means that large alliances have the advantage when it comes to taking systems, holding those systems is another matter. The old scheme allowed large alliances plenty of time to react to an unexpected attack – particularly when already engaged in operations on a separate front. A small force could be allocated to throw up POSes and delay the attackers, while alliance leadership mobilized or reorganized to meet the new threat.
Under the new sovereignty rules, hostile alliance frontiers in null-sec must be garrisoned with sufficient force to turn back an invader.
Further, the higher costs involved with the new sovereignty scheme means any systems not producing a return on investment become drains on alliance resources. An alliance is heavily incented to hold onto only those systems that deliver either a financial or strategic advantage. An alliance indiscriminately gobbling up systems it cannot exploit takes on a significant financial burden.
So, what’s an alliance to do with unwanted systems?
Against All Authorities seems to be leading the learning curve in this area. Rather than trying to hold Providence themselves after removing CVA, AAA handed the systems off to a number of small alliances that, even together, do not pose a significant threat to AAA. In this way, AAA secures its frontier without having to spend resources maintaining sovereignty over space it can’t (or doesn’t wish to) exploit.
Now those vassal alliances are, in turn, looking at selling sovereignty in systems that don’t provide much return on investment. The technical term for a vassal farming out parts of their own fiefs to other, lesser nobles (as all you history buffs will know) is subinfeudation.
In essence – AAA’s Providence vassals are about to get vassals of their own.