Ok so when I was in Iceland doing the whole EVE-TV thing for the Alliance Tournament at one point I said that people who say CCP doesn't play their own game are idiots and that they really do know what's up.
Apparently I was totally wrong, because I have read the latest Dominion Dev blog.
If you haven't read it, here's a link.
- Cost of space ownership is calculated by per-day upkeep costs for what you have in said space.
- Upkeep bills are paid every 2 weeks.
- It is going to cost an absolute shitload to own any amount of systems over maybe half a dozen if they have any reasonable infrastructure.
- If for whatever reason you do not/cannot pay your bill you lose sov.
- Sov levels now run from 1 to 100 days to get from Level 1 to 5, and affect the upgrades you can put in your space
- Upgrades are totally useless save one, which would quickly become useless.
First off, I feel like I should address a fundamental misunderstanding of why 0.0 alliances each control 1+ region. IT IS NOT JUST BECAUSE WE FEEL LIKE IT. Anybody who thinks this is an idiot who has never, ever had to run more than a single POS for a week. Running the Goonswarm POS behemoth costs billions of ISK per month and requires hours upon hours of labor to get the fuel moved. And that's in a pair of regions literally 1 jump out of Empire. We would love to be able to just live in 1 system, but it's totally impossible.
Why is there a little yellow dot in pretty much every system in Delve, even if there's naught but a small Gallente POS some guy uses as a safespot for his ratting Raven? Because CCP incentivized getting sov for even trivial bullshit. POSes with sov burn less fuel which means less costs and less logistics trips. That's why everybody has sov everywhere.
Why Can't 0.0 Alliances Live In One Constellation Each?
Because any 0.0 alliance has more than 4 people is the short answer. The long answer is that 0.0 space simply doesn't support more than a few people per solar system. Ratting is by far the most popular way to make money on an individual level in 0.0, and to make any reasonable ISK you need a system of about 8-10+ belts all to yourself for several hours. This is so that you can setup chains in the belts and actually make ISK rather than pull in 100k every time that triple BC spawn comes back in the one belt you get.
This is ignoring the inherent value differences between regions. In Delve and Fountain, all you need to look at is belt count for a system. Everywhere else you have to look at belt count and Truesec, a totally static value that pretty much singlehandedly determines system value. Truesec determines the maximum value of the belt rats which will spawn, which in turn determines the maximum amount of ISK per belt you can make. The Providence region has awful, awful truesec, which leads to awful rats. Regions such as Scalding Pass, Detorid and Feythabolis have systems that run the gamut from -1.0 (best Truesec) to -0.1 (worst Truesec.) There is no reason to ever rat in a system with terrible Truesec if you have access to better ones.
So Then Why Not Just Claim The Good Systems?
Because first of all, they can only hold a few people making money (more if you're mining but that's totally worthless and I'll address it later on.) Second, because they don't all have stations in them. Third, because you need to be able to move between them.
The first point means you need to hold enough systems to keep your members in ISK. Sure there are lots of ways to make ISK in EVE, but none have the same Effort:ISK ratio of ratting. It's just hop in ship, warp to belt, shoot things at stuff.
The second point is a strategic one. Say you have a constellation with 5 systems. 3 of them are Truesec -0.8, one is -1.0 and one is -0.1. Ideally, you'd just need to live in the non-0.1 system and roll around in your ISK and faction/officer modules. But wait! That -0.1 system has a station in it. You now must own that system. You must control that station so that you simple have a base to dock up and buy/sell things, and you need to deny that station to hostile entities who would love to move in and then come gank you mercilessly in your wonderful ratting systems. It's also worth noting that this constellation would be considered goddamned fantastic and people would love to live in it and I'm pretty sure nothing like this exists anywhere in EVE.
The third point is the constant thorn in the side of every 0.0 pilot, corporation and alliance: LOGISTICS. Yeah, your space is great and the rats keep self-destructing themselves as soon as you warp into a belt, but what happens when you run out of missiles? You need more, so you need to import more. How do you import more? You either buy them off of somebody else that imports them or you go to Empire and buy them yourself. Every single 0.0 Alliance wants to extend their space to the doorstep of Empire, because it makes life so. Much. Easier. For everybody. At the very least you need to be blue to the people between you and Empire, which is why Period Basis is such a terrible place to live if you're not on good terms with the people in Delve and Querious. To keep a good logistics network you need jump bridges linking major hubs of activity to the Empire entry point, necessitating taking sov in plenty of systems where the only towers in the system host the bridges themselves.
What Does This Have To Do With Dominion?
Well, CCP explicitly stated that they want to shrink space Empires. Originally they said this would be achieved by making it so that alliances don't have to hold so much space to function. Right off the bat this would mean people would mainly move towards Empire (remember all that Logistics stuff I was talking about?) meaning that the outer reaches of 0.0 would be empty and nobody new could move in anyway because the Empire access would be locked down by the current occupants. But that last point is neither here nor there.
Lets look at how CCP plans to increase the capacity of your average 0.0 system. Here are the current upgrades that are mentioned in the dev blog:
Pirate Magnets - add two additional guaranteed anomalies per level to your solar system
Ore Prospecting Array - adds one additional guaranteed hidden asteroid site per level to your solar system
Entrapment - increase the chance significantly of a DED complex being located in the depths of your solar system
Survey Networks - increase the chance significantly of mini-profession sites being located within your solar system
Quantum Flux Generator - increase the chance significantly of a wormhole being discovered within your solar system to w-space.
Pirate Magnets - Totally worthless. Soundwave says that the higher end Anomalies are equal to an L4 mission, which may be true, but I'm yet to ever see one of these and the real worth of L4s is in the LP anyway, something CCP hasn't seemed to yet grasp.
Ore Prospecting Array - Yeah I'll mine in 0.0 sure.
Entrapment - This one is actually worth something. For 2 weeks, that is, before the market gets totally flooded with Plex loot driving the price through the floor and totally ruining it (sup Datacores.)
Survey Networks - Mini-profession sites are worth less than anomalies except in 1 or 2 exceedingly rare cases, which will become just as worthless if they start spawning more due to flooding the market.
Quantum Flux Generator - The prices of T3 stuff is dropping like a rock. The best way to make money in W-space is to gank somebody's officer fit Nightmare and sell the loot off.
So Where Does This Leave Everybody In Dominion?
What CCP is actually doing with Dominion as it stands is making Space Empires shrink by making it so totally economically unfeasible to hold them that people will have no choice but to prune off massive chunks of space.
At the same time they are making space exponentially more expensive to hold, they are cutting the main artery of Alliance income: R64s. Yes, they are massively unbalanced but they are a massive focal point for combat in every single 0.0 campaign. They're also how Alliances kept themselves solvent and provided for their members.
Could Goonswarm or AAA or Atlas continue to hold all of their space if everybody rats constantly and they set a 90% tax rate? Probably.
Would they have any members within a week? Probably not.
In addition, with CCP pushing people to look for exploration sites, they're further cutting off Alliance income because loot from Plexes and W-space and Anomalies cannot be taxed.
You Can't Fight In Here! This Is The War Room!
That header has nothing to do with this paragraph I just wanted another Strangelove reference. The point of this whole :words: post has been to try to explain how CCP still completely misunderstands why 0.0 Alliances operate the way they do, along with how to incentivize 0.0 space. What is especially alarming is that CCP are just releasing this Devblog now, a month before Dominion is supposed to hit, and seem to already have it in their minds that this is how it's going to be going forward, with practically no testing by actual players or 0.0 inhabitants.
That last bit is actually it's own post about SiSi that I'm thinking of writing in the next week or so.