CCP Fozzie finally released the long awaited SOV changes Dev blog today. And it’s quite dense, and full of a lot of interesting ideas. As expected it will probably change to degree prior to release. But that hasn’t stopped the usual fanfare of overreactions, theory crafting, and leadership planning from going into full swing within the EVE community.
The second devblog addresses the proposed changes to sov mechanics they expect to release in June of this year. CCP Fozzie begins by laying out the team’s goals and the intent behind the new system. Paraphrasing, these can be summed up as:
- Make fighting over a system fun.
- Make it easily understood.
- Make it accessible to smaller groups.
- Make it less of a job.
- Give people a reason to live in the space they hold.
- Spread the fights out across multiple systems.
- Keep it flexible enough to make more changes.
With that background in mind, he moves on to the actual mechanics of sovereignty and how they envision changes taking place.
The most prominent change will be the introduction of the “Entosis Link”. A new high-slot module that will be used as both the offensive and defensive focal point for SOV actions. The new module would be used to either cprture or defend an existing SOV structure. It will also be used in the new reinforcement timer mechanic that will be detailed later for Command Nodes.
The usage of this module on a target structure will only be a single effect item. This means there is no multiplicative effect for using multiple Links on a target structure. The other interesting aspect of the module is that only the defending alliance of a system will have a defensive effect on a target. Even other alliances in “Coalitions” within EVE will count as attackers against a target if they use their Links.
This doesn’t remove them from the fight. As it’s clear that the new SOV control mechanics will play into a more elastic fleet structure, with fleets having to constantly move and reform to defend an asset. And the other alliances not focused on using defensive Links will be focused on keeping their allies alive or raiding their enemies fleets and staging systems.
In the new system, all three current sov structures (IHUB, station, TCU) will remain, but their functions will change somewhat and will no longer be linked to one another. In addition, only one of each structure will be able to exist in the system at a time. Whether this means systems with six or seven IHUBs already anchored will need to be swept out, or if it is simply a retention of the current system, remains unclear.
Territorial Claim Units (TCUs) will no longer have an upkeep cost. More significantly, they will not be needed to lay claim to the other structures of a system. Station and IHUB ownership will instead be completely decoupled, and the benefits of the TCU will be reduced to planting your flag and the existing (but certainly not inconsequential) 25% bonus to fuel use for POS towers.
The Infrastructure Hub (IHUB) will take on a portion of the TCU’s old upkeep cost and the functions of maintaining the Strategic Sovereignty Index (otherwise known as sov level). This index is necessary for the placement and functioning of other structures, such as jump bridges and beacons.
Stations will take on the remainder of the TCU’s current upkeep cost and station services will continue to be vulnerable. Services, like the station itself, will be attacked using the Entosis Link, however, and not with conventional weapons. This also means that re-enabling services will require the owner’s use of their own sov laser, as remote repairs will have no effect.
Sovereignty Blockade Units (SBUs) will be removed, with compensation to the owners, as they will no longer be needed (or even useful).
The other big change coming to the mechanics of SOV warfare is the “Prime Time Window.” This is a four-hour period each day, selected by each alliance, that will govern the timing of fights over their space. Changes can be made to this window, but they will take 96 hours to go into effect. The Prime Time Window chosen will determine when that alliance’s sov structures can be reinforced. Exit timers for structures reinforced during this window will be randomized.
During this vulnerable period, any pilot can activate an Entosis Link on the designated structure and capture will take between 10 to 40 minutes. If the vulnerable window expires while a structure is partially captured, the structure will remain vulnerable until the owners reverse the partial capture or the attackers complete it.
Station services will not be subject to the Prime Time Window.
The secondary vital mechanic for SOV offense and defense is the new Anomaly type – “Command Nodes”. This will involve a new mechanic wherein when an attacker hits a target system and the timer comes out. The next phase will involves these sites spawning across the ENTIRE constellation, these nodes mimic the Incursion and Faction Warfare capture mechanics to a degree. As some had correctly speculated.
The goal of the mechanic for both sides is to capture 10 of these nodes. And then the victor will “win” the timer. Additional Command Nodes will spawn over time, and capturing any Command Node will immediately spawn a new Command Node. Capturing 10 nodes will be enough to win the timer. As with the structures themselves, the Command Nodes will require Entosis Links, and only members of the specific alliance that owns the structure under attack will count as “defenders” for enforcing their claim through sov lasers. Successful defense of a structure returns it to its normal function until the next vulnerability window. Successful attack of a TCU or an IHUB immediately destroys it. Stations, however, are not destroyed, but enter “Freeport Mode” for 48 hours.
Freeport Mode lasts for 48 hours and spawns Command Nodes at the end of the reinforcement timer, just like other reinforcement timers. During this second timer, all players are able to dock and to make use of station services. However, settings cannot be changed, docking fees are not charged, and other fees and taxes are not collected. Freeport Stations will display on the map, including their reinforcement timer.
The Command Nodes spawned for the second reinforcement timer gain no defensive bonuses, as the station they affect has no current owner. Each alliance involved in the Command Node conquests counts as its own faction. As a result, allies attempting to restore control of a station to a particular entity cannot use their own Entosis Links on Command Nodes without delaying the original owners’ attempts to reclaim the station, although the use of those Links might be necessary to delay the claims of hostile alliances.