It’s no secret that the coming changes to SOV will be the death of some current aspects of life in Nullsec portions of New Eden. I’d like to take this time to speculate on what that future might look like, and how players might react to it. I’m going to break this down into a few sections. First, I’ll talk about renters in null sec. Then I’ll tie that topic into a speculative discussion on the economics of certain changes coming to SOV. Finally, I’ll finish up with some ideas I had to try and stimulate player interest in holding SOV, as I see the coming “Phase 3” changes being a potential breeding ground for some revolutionary change.
Future of Renting
It’s a fact, renting will not survive in it’s current state. There is however some doubt as to what will happen to these players once Fozziesov hits. With the mass abandonment of vast swathes of space by many of the established power blocs; along with the necessity for alliances to actually defend the SOV they hold, groups like NA. will disappear. The way I see it, there are three choices for rental alliances themselves, and their renters.
Some renters are too stuck in their ways and will offer large sums of ISK to PVP players to join their alliances and defend them. We’ll likely see some rental alliances fold in dedicated corps for defense; some might just hire “mercenaries” to hold the SOV for them. Although, the effectiveness of such an approach is limited by size. Even huge alliances have trouble holding SOV, and being tied to systems is a good way to burn out some players.
Some renters will likely be disgusted by the changes to SOV that no longer enable them to sit idly by and let someone else do the hard work, while they reap most of the benefit. But, most players aren’t this narrow-minded so I expect the amount of rage-quitting renters will be minimal.
We saw this trend to a degree after Phoebe. Former rental corps and alliances banded together to take the space of their former masters. Making the quality of their experience in EVE richer in the process. As well as fattening their purses with mountains of ISK. The need to defend oneself becomes even more pressing with the coming changes. The drive to take and hold new space also depends heavily on it’s economic value.
Renters may be either dying or evolving. But it seems that most Null entities are going on the path to adaptation. The potential powder keg of New Eden relies heavily on how CCP changes the economic future of the game. As such, lets talk about some of the driving forces behind the economy of New Eden.
R32 and R64 moons are undeniably the most valuable asset in the game. Even with T2 production in a somewhat sorry state in terms of profit post-Crius. The major issue driving contention of certain areas of space isn’t necessarily the number of moons in a region, but the quality of the race specific resources. Some regions have more of some resources than others, and that drives competition for the most valuable materials. Which is further driven by demand for the most used T2 items.
CCP’s “Phase 3” for SOV will focus on the economic aspects of SOV. Currently, moons and SOV aren’t really linked. The incoming mining and structure changes detailed by CCP are a step in the right direction of making Null more enticing. But they still lack a crucial element. The psychological drive that makes players want SOV. From a line member perspective, this is largely economic. Making holding SOV more valuable for these players will entice them to be more aggressive in offense and defense.
Of particular interest is the idea of introducing drilling platforms to POSes. A system that replaces the not often used Mining IHub upgrades could also be implemented into this new structure. I’ve also thought of a potential way to link SOV and moons that makes both more useful. Currently, TCUs are tied to SOV and provide a base bonus to POS Fuel consumption in a given system. Other than certain structures being tied to SOV and those previously stated bonuses, there’s little incentive there.
I propose that instead of IHub upgrades that no one really uses, TCUs become the new way of making SOV itself valuable. For example, reduce or eliminate the POS fuel bonus while adding in a base bonus to the cycle time of mining modules/drilling platforms by X%. This allows both players and alliances to expedite the gathering of resources in Null, further continuing on the path of supporting Null-centric industry. This idea depends on two factors. One being the bonuses offered by IHub upgrades, stacking too many potential bonuses would be too upsetting to balance; the other is distribution of moons/ore, depending on what CCP does to balance or change resource distribution in Null, this idea could work. There is of course potential for technical limitations to make such an idea unfeasible.
Another change that might actually happen in relation to occupancy based SOV is the fixing of indexes. Currently, only Ratting and Mining affect two of them. An expansion of covering all forms of PVE in a single index, and changing Military to reflect PVP would go a long way to getting an accurate picture of SOV based on player activity. It would potentially spur alliances to create specialized task forces whose sole purpose is to raise indexes in valuable systems. Combining such ideas would make for very interesting defensive strategies in Fozziesov.
The potential impacts of the industry, moons, and mining changes are obvious. T2 production is hilariously bad for profits in a lot of cases. Changes to the way resources are gathered or general resource distributions could potentially reduce T2 production costs locally. Saving alliances money. They could then make more money by exporting their excess production to Low/High for a decent margin. Such change would also theoretically lead to market PVP in more interesting ways. I’d love to see even more examples of marketeers declaring open war on one another to eliminate competition. A drastic change to moon distribution or other resources would probably lead to more stagnation however. Because if every region has near equal access to resources, the only threat to SOV holders would be external entities who don’t already own SOV or moons.
There is also the matter of supply and demand. A lot of industry outside of Null goes into feeding the ravenous beast that is PVP. If stagnation allows Null PVP to drop off, High sec industry will take a substantial hit. And the only ones left in that nightmare scenario are the monopolizing cut throats that already control portions of the markets.
It seems the way forward for CCP is one of a tightrope act. Trying to balance the bllodthirsty nature of Null players with the more industrious nature of HIgh, while also keeping an eye on the boiling kettle that is Low. Take for Example the region of Aridia. Even Null entity and their grandmother seems to be heading there at least for now. It seems clear that players feel it will be easier to attack rather than defend come Fozziesov. Whether this assumption holds true remains to be seen.
I’m rather curious what changes CCP is thinking of making that no one has seen yet. I really hope they pull the rabbit out of the hat and throw us for a loop. Subverting expectation and knocking it out of the park would be a great way to renew interest in the game overall.