Have Alliances and the sovereignty system limited the amount of PVP and RP potential in Null sec? Imagine a Null Sec where anyone could build outposts wherever. Would the reduction of the alliance game mechanic, and the removal of the sovereignty game mechanics (or the modifcation of it from Alliance level to Corp level for that matter) force more PVP into Null sec, or would giant power blocs like the NC still form themselves?"
There's this ongoing assumption working its way through the Eve community that large nullsec power blocs somehow reduce the amount of PvP going on in nullsec. This is another one of those ideas that a person in CCP has thrown out as a given with little in the way of supporting data. And everybody running an alliance that's presently on the losing end of the nullsec sov wars, and every pirate who's all big and bad in lowsec but is afraid to go play snatch and grab in nullsec (where even the carebears could bubble and cap-drop him and his jolly jack tars) start waving this supposed factoid about as if to say, "See, I'm not a loser! Nullsec's broken!"
This year has seen some of the most exciting, kick-ass, bitch-slapping sov warfare in the history of Eve. Intergalactic empires have crumbled. Legendary names have fallen. Alliances and coalitions never seen before in nullsec have arrived and shaken the thrones of the mighty. A coalition, largely derided by their enemies as a bunch of carebears, has everyone trembling in their anti-gravity boots. There have been last minute plot twists, spying and plotting worthy of a Le Carre novel and double-dealings that would have done Machiavelli proud.
And this is only post-Dominion year one.
Instead of the dull old days when the big boys sat fat, happy and neigh impregnable in their space, the nullsec map is wildly fluid with change. For the first time, alliance space has to be actively defended, and the space you take has a cost component. Perfect? Of course not. But we have a much more interesting nullsec than we've seen for some time.
There's plenty of PvP going on in nullsec. How much depends on how you define PvP.
And that brings us to "the blob". As near as I can figure, the a blob is any formation of ships that significantly outnumbers your formation of ships - especially if their formation just handed your formation their collective ass. I'm sure Custer was a big opponent of blobs about midway through the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Somehow the well-established doctrine of overwhelming force, standard issue thinking in modern warfare, is lost on many Eve players who want the rise and fall in intergalactic empires to be played out via small gang warfare rather than the clashing of vast space armadas.
New Eden has plenty of space that supports sharp, quick fleet combat using small to medium sized gangs. It is the principle type of combat employed in lowsec and is frequently exercised in nullsec as well. However, there must be a place for epic large-scale space conflict as well.
Now, a lot of people are hand-wringing because small alliances can't go out and stake their claim in nullsec. This is plainly not true. There are a number of small alliances that maintain small holdings in nullsec.
"But Mord," I hear you say. "Those are all vassals of larger alliances, or guests, or (worst of all) renters. They're alliances who hold space by dint of their relationship with a protecting alliance or coalition. I want to be able to take my hundred-player alliance into nullsec and hold my space by sheer force of arms."
I hate to burst your bubble, but human aren't wired that way. Our history is, for the most part, the big guy rolling over the little guy. The little guy's defense against this has often been to seek out a patron who can intimidate the barbarians who are at the gates. With a little luck, the patron doesn't turn out to be more of a threat than the barbarians. Historic feudal systems the world over are deeply rooted in this basic human dynamic. Sooner or later, the little dog seeks shelter in the shadow of the big dog. And, as long as Eve is a sandbox, there's no way you're getting around it.
To a certain extent, the coalition concept is an extention of this and illustrates that Eve is shaped as much by its players as CCP's software designers. There's no coalition mechanic in Eve. There's not even a commonly agreed-upon definition for it. For example I define coalition as
...a collection of alliances that choose to closely coordinate their foreign and defense (and possibly trade and industrial) policies on an ongoing basis for the common good. In essence, they operate as a loosely coupled macro-alliance.Other people would call alliances having a non-aggression pact (NAP) a coalition, however I believe that's too loose a definition. Mutual defense pacts come closer to (and, in fact, are often the first stage of) a proper coalition as I define them, but still don't rise to the level of coordination I use in defining a coalition.
Now, coalitions aren't something CCP designed. They are a product of the sandbox and have evolved within the player communities. They are a player invention that's grown up over time in order to overcome limitations in the Alliance mechanic and to establish social and administrative constructs not supported by CCP's software. Working in coordination with a well-run coalition, alliances can overcome weaknesses and vulnerabilities CCP has allowed to persist in the Alliance mechanics.
Since CCP doesn't control coalition mechanics, they're unable to nerf them. All they can do is to attempt to impose a cost on cooperation and, in the December CSM minutes, that was the direction they seemed inclined to take. But the monkey-wrench in those gears are the players themselves. In order to create barriers high enough to deter players from developing new "out of Eve" means of cooperating on a large scale, CCP would have to completely remake almost every aspect of nullsec; a strategy fraught with unexpected outcomes and financial risk.
Eve has become a complex game, comprised of many interacting mechanics. Changing one mechanic introduces a cascade of possibilities elsewhere in the game. Because of the Eve player's penchant for innovation, changes to the game can have much broader repercussions than envisioned by designers and developers. Over a year later, impacts of the Dominion sovereignty changes on nullsec are still making themselves known. Layering additional large-scale changes on top of those may be ill-advised.
Small changes in nullsec may be called for. However, despite the current panic about nullsec devolving to one big blue carebear hug-fest, that's a very small-probability event. The flip-side of the human tendency for cooperation, is the human tendency for war. Each drives the other and feeds on the other, rising and falling in a tidal manner - ebb and flow. I quite guarantee that, six months from now, the political landscape of nullsec will be very different from what we see today.
In Eve nullsec, as in real life, the only constant is change.
Other participants in Eve Blog Banter 25:
- BB25 What sov changes will come? | A Mule In EvE
- Confessions of a Closet Carebear: Alliances and Sovereignty
- Blog Banter 25: Nerfing Nulsec « OMG! You're a Chick?!
- Have Alliances and the sovereignty system limited the amount of PVP and RP potential in Null sec? | Nitpickin's
- Blog Banter #25: Alliance and Sovereignty Limiting PvP in 0.0? | Sarnel Binora's Blog
- Blog Banter #25 - Mad Haberdashers
- Alliances and sovereignty | Eve Online Focus
- ...Shall we not Revenge?: BB 25: What if the Alliance vanished?
- Blog Banter: Alliances and Sov
- EVEOGANDA: BB25: Sov 'n Go!
- » TBG:EBB#25 – Alliances and Sovereignty To Boldly Go
- Freebooted: BB25: Leviathans of the Deep
- Wrong Game Tetra ~ Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
- EVE Blog Banter #25 – Human nature what art thou? | Way of the Gun
- Who cares about Sov? - Hands Off, My Loots! ~ well sorta like an entry! :p
- The 25th EVE Blog Banter: Alliances and sovereignty - The Phoenix Diaries
- Achernar: The space commute
- Wandering the Void…my EvE musings. – Blog Banter: Alliances and sovereignty
- (OOC) CK’s Blog Banter #25: How To Break EvE. « Prano's Journey
- Captain Serenity: Blog Banter #25 - Crappy mechanics
- Helicity Boson » Blog Banter #25 Nullsec and sov.
- BB #25 – “With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?”
- Boom! Hull-Shot?: It's the End of the Eve as We Know It
- sered's lives: EVE Blog Banter #25 - Size does matter
- 25th EVE BB – Medieval Solutions to Spaceship Problems | Inventions of a New Eden Industrialist
- More to come...