Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Barbarians at the Gates

I love the sovereignty changes that accompanied the Dominion, probably for the reasons many of the alliances that previously held systems in nullsec hate it.

See, the new sov rules do two major things:

First of all, it makes in-game sovereignty behave a bit more like real-life sovereignty. 

As I’ve written previously , the new rules require that you actively defend your systems with fleets. Attackers no longer have to deploy a capital fleet big enough to grind their way through a defender’s collection of POS and drop POS of their own in order to take a system. Defenders can no longer refuse to engage attackers – defending space and slowing the attackers simply by deploying more POS.

Under the old system, taking even undefended space was a tedious and resource intensive exercise. A number of nullsec veterans have complained that, under Dominion sov rules, taking systems is too easy; all the attackers need is a fleet big enough to overwhelm whatever fleet the system owner can quickly bring to bear for defense.

Well…yes. And I’d say that’s a good thing, because it’s much closer to how such things work in real life.

I mean, if a barbarian horde comes over your borders and you won’t or can’t field a force to turn them back, you’ve no one to blame but yourself when they start drinking your tea, eating cake off the good china and leaving the toilet seats up. 

“Hey, nice bit of real estate,” they’ll say “Good pig country. And there’s nobody using it. I think we’ll stay.”  Next thing you know, the locals are calling the lead barbarian “Your Highness”.

Like nature, the Dominion sov rules abhor a vacuum. And that changes everything.

If an empty constellation on the borders of your sphere of influence is going to fill up with smelly barbarian noobs in tar-paper shacks the first time your back is turned, you’ve got to fill it pre-emptively. You’ve got to drop in someone who will:

a)    Stay put while you’re off war-lording
b)    Act as a buffer between your systems and inbound barbarian hordes or magazine salesmen
c)    Keep their grubby mitts of your stuff (systems, stations, loots, et al) and
d)    Pay all sovereignty related expenses

In other words, you need vassals. Or in Eve-speak, you need pets. The more space you’ve got, the more vassals you need. Not only do you need vassals, you need vassals you can trust, because under the Dominion sov rules your interstellar empire can evaporate very quickly. If a vassal turns on you at the wrong time, or abandons your frontier for a better offer, you could find yourself cadging drinks in a lowsec bar in no time at all.

Don’t have any vassals? Guess you’d better put your schmoozing pants on recruit some.  Find some respectable low-sec pvp corps. Wine them and dine them. Fill their heads with tails of untold power and riches. Offer them a home in nullsec under your protection.

There is a second change occurring in New Eden that’s going to add new residents to nullsec. It has to do with nullsec economics under the combined influence of Dominion sovereignty rules and Tyrannis.

There is an invasion underway. These are the true barbarians, the true threat to the old order. Not only are they at the gate, the lords of nullsec are inviting them in. They look so benign, so harmless. But keep that night-light on, for they will change the face of nullsec forever.

Prepare for ….



  1. Hydra Reloaded recruiting any and everyone to mass numbers for a providence invasion on behalf of CVA? Yes the rise of carebears indeed. Also a sign of desperation in my opinion.

  2. Well, CVA illustrates my point in a different way.

    Dominion sov rules favor alliances that play well with others - that build trust relationships.

    CVA's tendency to throw friends and allies under oncoming trains has isolated it. That, along with poor leadership, is why they are in their present state.

    The New Providence Holders use the space for training and light R&R PVP. However, when threatened, they band together. They play well together. They trust each other.

    Until CVA understands this and adapts to the new EVE reality, they will never be more than an annoyance.

    They will not retake Providence.

    Even if one of the major players in New Eden were to take Providence from the New Providence Holders, none of them like or trust CVA enough hand it back to them.

    The Rise of the Carebears is an economic story. It has played out many times in history and I believe some variation of it will be played out in New Eden.

    Watch this space.