With all the speculation and moves being made in Null/Low Sec space in advance of Phoebe one would not be too far off base in expecting people to try and hang on to old methods and agreements of surviving in EVE. Because as we all know, some EVE players really hate change.
Taking the sell-off of the Drone Regions from PL, and N3 allegedly moving to the SouthWest as an example, a lot of alliances are looking to still try and hold onto a slice of landlord/renter ISK. Or they move into the space left behind in the Southeast and try to replicate the success of the BOTLRD era. Although it will be very difficult for the renting era to return to the same degree that N3 once held space.
And PL and N3 aren’t alone in their troubles. The CFC is rushing to secure its borders against a wide array of enemies, resulting in quite a few large space battles.
Regardless of intent, the writing on the wall suggests that rental empires are not long for the sweet embrace of death. As most SOV-holders are looking to focus on holding easily defensible areas and generating more easily defended revenue streams, there are only a few groups left that will vie for the inevitable scraps of the rental table.
The first group that must be discussed is the pirates and small gang PVPers. Pirates and other small PvP groups are not the competitors to renters. Renters do PvE, mostly ratting. Pirates don’t really want to rat. Chasing away ratters without ratting yourself is just dumb: the income from the rats in your land will be gained by no one. Renters have no loyalty to the landlord as we saw PBLRD members running to other coalitions for better service. They are ready to pay to anyone who guarantees them the ability to rat in peace. Currently these are the big coalitions that control the most space, protected by supercapital fleets.
the other groups that will likely be brought up are new faces in the sovereignty game. Smaller alliances looking to carve out a piece for themselves. Assuming that any smaller groups decide to grind down the structures and take the space ahead of larger groups and succeed, they will most likely have to focus on holding that territory from other small groups and defending the revenue of those systems from aforementioned PvP gangs. In all likelihood, small groups won’t be renting space anytime soon. At least not without agreements from larger groups, but that’s more like sub-letting than owning your own space.
Currently the strategic and tactical control are the same. If you own SOV, then – using jump bridges and bridging titans – you are able to drop an overwhelming force on anyone who is impeding upon your revenue generation. Pirates live by hit-and-run. REnters remain relatively safe in this era of perfect intel, all provided by local chat. The vast majority of renters flee to the safety of stations long before a neutral shows up thanks to intel bots.
And if the sovereignty of a system is somehow threatened, renters often rely entirely on their overlords for protection through massive coalition fleets of subcapitals, further protected by a supercapital umbrella.
After Phoebe the strategic and tactical control will split. The regional power will still hold the SOV as it can still deploy and grind down everything in a week while stomping on any attempt from the locals to fight. However they will have to deploy to do so, at the cost of not being anywhere else. This means that outside of such deployments, the local pirates are free to plant their towers and siege renters. If the SOV holder scrambles whatever members they have locally, the pirates would likely beat them up. This creates an awkward dual-power situation: both the formal SOV-holder and the local pirates are owning the same land.
Whomever takes control of the situation on the ground from the larger region holding group, both groups will inevitably come to the conclusion that sharing wealth is better than trying to hoard it. A split in renter income will be paid to the pirates actively holding said systems, and the SOV-holder of the region will likely demand a cut. And in effect it will resemble the “protection” rackets of organized crime, in a less violent and chaotic sense.
In most cases, this will not happen at first. The landlords will be reluctant to acknowledge that they lost tactical control and can no longer demand full rent. The pirates will likely approach with an “I just want the World burn”. This can lead to an initial exodus from some regions. An empty land where no one does PvE is good for no one. The SOV-holder will realize that lower rent is better than no rent, while the pirates will realize that having income is better than no income while having blue ratters at least attract random roamers that they can kill, while empty space attracts no one. So after the initial hiccups, the rates of this dual-renting will be accepted and renters will continue ratting as they always did.