Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Nullsec must burn!

CCP Fozzie's latest dev blogs are epic attempts to address the problem of stagnation in nullsec, what Crowfall calls "the Uncle Bob issue."

"[By year 10] Bob is now an unassailable tyrant and anyone who even tries to challenge him is crushed instantly. Nobody's having fun, not even Uncle Bob. A strategy game inherently has to have the chance to restart."

Is Null Sec at the stage of "unassailable tyrants?"

I think so. It's true that people coming into null sec are not always crushed instantly but that's because the big boys allow them to come in then farm them for pvp. Space is now 2 dominant factions: the CFC and N3/PL. There's also the Russians - traditionally left to do their own thing - and independent entities permitted to exist for farming. Gevlon went as far as to describe BRAVE as renters who pay rent in ship losses rather than isk.

Renters dominate nullsec. Even if we don't consider alternate arrangements which are renter-like - paying rent in ship losses or paplinks -  a quick look at Dotlan shows the absolute dominance of renters in nullsec. The biggest sov holder is N3's renter alliance, next is xDeathx's renter alliance gifted to them by PL, then 2 real player alliances then 5th is PL's renter alliance and 6th is the Goons' renter alliance. Even analysed by population, renters make up 4 of the 7 biggest alliances in the game.

Renting is emergent gameplay a system where players manage a conflict driven high reward space by avoiding conflict, paying stronger people to do the conflict for them. This will become more or less impossible under the new Sov system. Sov structures will be continually tested by anyone who can reach them. The role of wormholes in accessing remote parts of null is not insignificant post-Phoebe either.

I'm in favour of seeing a sharp decline in renting. I think it tends to create boring space, where people mine or multibox in safety and seclusion rarely seeing a hostile. As an FC I consider most such space not really worth attacking because they'll just pos up and it's not like we can do anything to threaten the sov. Interceptor gangs targeting inattentive ratters are the only effective counter-measure and that's gnat bites in the overall scheme of things.

But what will happen to an Eve where most null sec residents have decided not to pvp, just to grind their next super in safe zones?

Well there will be some quite sharp economic effects.

We will see more ship destruction, a lot of destruction of sov structures, people spending time fighting instead of ratting and mining and people hiding in poses or stations when they could have been ratting or mining.

This means the economy will see less isk and less ore as well as a marginal reduction in ESS-related loyalty points. It probably won't effect nullsec exploration much as that's fairly safe. We may see less moon goo production and reaction as people feel less safe about erecting moon miner POSes. We may see less PI production as people are forced out of their space.

A big decline in the production of isk would lead to less money chasing the same goods, ie deflation. So all goods will be likely to become cheaper except perhaps nullsec ores and their derivatives like Megacyte.

Loyalty point items, exploration loot and wormhole-exclusive materials will likely become cheaper, the latter being particularly true in view of the upcoming rebalance of T3 strategic cruisers (likely to be a nerf).

Will Eve be a better game? I think so. Conflicts abounding more reward for the people who manage nullsec successfully.

Will the Uncle Bob problem be solved? That seems less clear. If a big boy comes to a small sov holder and says "give us 20 billion or we'll wreck you" they will be likely to be able to extort money. So it will still be like renting except without the flagging. There is an out though - if someone becomes sufficiently bitter they can drop sov then spend all their time making their oppressors lives hell from NPC space.

What may solve the Uncle Bob problem and what shouldn't be forgotten is that there is still the prospect of a whole new type of space coming when the massive player-made stargates project is finished. So someone feeling oppressed by CFC and N3/PL would be able to move to what is pretty much a whole other game zone and forget them. That will be the real test of the sov revamp - whether the sov fixes keep players wanting to stay under the yoke of the blue doughnut when a viable alternative opens up.

So here's my prediction: the sov changes will make for exciting times in the short term but will ultimately fail to shake up nullsec and as soon as a new zone opens up on the other side of the player made gates all the farmable people will emigrate leaving a bitter bitter core of veterans sitting in their supers blaming CCP.

Is anyone remembering Trammel?

(Edit: thanks to user /u/mechacanadaII or reddit for pointing out an error)


  1. Understandably players interested in pvp don't like renters because renters are not interested in pvp, they just want to live in null sec.
    My first response to this change would be renters evecuating assets since they don't know if they will be able to hold on to their space after the change.

    I already had plans to leave null again and this only reinforces it. Why pay rent if I have to defend my own space anyway?

    1. Was in the process of getting my characters together instead of spread out all over the universe.
      My plan is to take a more project approach where I change focus occasionaly instead of trying to do it all at once.

      So right now I am in Genesis doing some exploration. After that it's probably a short stint running the epic high sec arcs again and after that my plan was to do some daytripping into null/wh space.

  2. Renting will be unaffected because the two reasons for renting is unaffected:
    - there are people who want ISK without PvE (landlords)
    - there are people who want Sov without PvP (renters)

    It is possible that renters will be rearranged, for example in every constellation the best system is landlord space where only landlord PvP-ers can rat and it's their duty to clear up small gangs from the constellation.

    @Raziel: you only need to defend your space from frigate crap. The landlord will fight serious enemies.

    1. There are no serious enemies due to the non-invasion pact.
      There are only bored (frigate) gangs looking to provoke a fight and landlords won't show up for those.

    2. If they don't fix renters they don't fix sov. If they don't fix sov and open up a new type of space where people can be free of their titan-flying overlords people will flock to it.

    3. @Stabs: you are wrong. People don't want to be "free" from their overlords. They love them. Without their overlords, they'd have to PvP which they hate.

    4. " soon as a new zone opens up on the other side of the player made gates all the farmable people will emigrate leaving a bitter bitter core of veterans sitting in their supers blaming CCP."

      I disagree and I dunt care two spits about null.... but I disagree, strongly.

      Your prediction is based on one main assumption... that when we/CCP/whoever opens the 'new space' this space will somehow be "separate zone" from the rest of EVE.

      All of EVE is connected whether by gates or wormholes. So I feel it is more accurate to assume that;
      (1) we will have more than one gate to the New Space
      (2) there will also be wormholes to the New Space

      IE CCP will not plan on the New Space being Goon Only Space or even Null Access Only Space... if they do then they will be openly pulling the dumbest assed move in gaming history... They will risk pissing off FAR more players than those who live in null potentially risking far more unsubs than any dick move in Null could ever cause.

      Plus TBH, I have far more faith in CCP Seagull's track record so far to believe she would ever allow that to happen. She is a whole game Dev, not a null only or large group only Dev. She is not a former Goon, she is not a former solo Industrial PvE player... She has stated over and over that the WHOLE game and ALL its playstyles are important... ALL of them.

      No matter how important Null actually is or just thinks it is, it AINT the end game of EVE. No, the New Space will 'end up' just as integrated and as accessible, in their various ways, to the rest of game as a whole as all the other spaces of EVE... Hi, Low, Null and Neg.

      Your supposition is not accurate... The 'Trammel' server in Ultima Online was a SEPARATE server... NOT some PvP free zone on the same server. In UO players DID leave for the PvP free Trammel server and UO then waned to the shadow of its former glory as it is today.

      The New Space is NOT nor can it be a Trammel. It WILL NOT be PvP free, it WILL be connected to the rest of EVE... so your supposition that the PvE/risk adverse will flock to it leaving the rest of us behind is... well, sorry but it's simply flat out wrong.

      Oh and Gev... How it this a bad thing? You wanna get rid of the Police and the Army of whatever country you are a citizen? so ‘you’ have to personally assume the effort and risk of catching and prosecuting criminals and keeping your borders safe from those who would harm you and yours? Do you see the police who are trying to keep you safe and military who are trying to keep your country safe as your Overlords?

      Risk-adverse PvE players have as much a place in EVE as much as the most die-hard asshat scammer, ganker or Goon... And if a large number of players find the safety they need or want in the richer space in Null under the PL or N3 or even the Goons... good on them.

      You know what I hate? Players who whine about playstyles they don't agree with... =P

  3. I don't understand why everyone thinks renting is automatically going to go away. You guys DO realize that the rental empires have executor corps in them in which the landlords have alts... right? You guys DO realize that most of the rental empires are shored up by diplomacy, not by PvP... right?

    So someone explain to me in small words why renting is going away.

    1. In order for sov to become interesting again renting is required to go away because fast swathes of space owned by remote landlords is boring. If someone attacks it no one defends it until suddenly an unfightable hammer drops when the landlord bestirs himself.

      I think the aim is to fix sov in such a way that renting does go away but I think they're unlikely to succeed hence all the peasants and renters, if given a new zone, may simply move away from the reach of Goons and PL making nullsec not only dull but empty.

      And that will cause bitterness and gnashing of teeth and dark references to Trammel and the NGE.

      Eve is not in a good state. Fozzie and Seagull and the others have basically an impossible task - to reset the power structure without alienating the current beneficiaries.

      If you don't agree you could always blog again ;)

    2. "If you don't agree you could always blog again ;)"

      This ^^

    3. Having rented from PL, I can tell you, Jester, that the diplomacy argument is crap.

      Yes, diplomacy prevents large-scale invasions of renter territory, but the landlords generally don't show for 'minor' incursions, which many renters cannot deal with, for various reasons, be it skill, size, time zone distribution, etc.

      PL was among the better landlords, in that if the small-scale stuff got to the point where the renter made noises about leaving, PL would stomp on the offender, which would fix the issue for a time. Not all landlords were as 'nice' as PL.

      Renting may very well go away under the new scheme if the current renting structure does not very quickly morph into a liege-vassal mode. I'm not certain the landlords care enough to really defend their vassals, since they pretty much despise renters, though they like the income they provide.

      On the flip side, I don't see player gates as being any kind of a solution to the current issue of bloc dominance. The big boys will simply expand into the new areas.

      Other than a form of server reset for null, I don't see how CCP can solve the problem. There's also not enough player will to do so, which is why we see the vast number of null alts running incursions, going to FW, RVB, Brave, etc.

      Oh, and Stabs, I wouldn't go putting the non-PvP label on every renter in nullsec. When I was renting, we did small-gang PvP when we felt like it. What we hated and despised was the politics, drama, and crappy mechanics surrounding holding sov. So there are renters out there that would happily PvP. Just as there are loads out there who don't want to :)

    4. Base wrong (yes I said WRONG) assumption... " zone, may simply move away from the reach of Goons and PL."

      Uh... again, No. And just to be fair, please quote and link where you have definitive or allusional or hell, even anecdotal information from CCP saying that the New Space beyond the Player Build State Gates will be a PvP Zone in ANY FORM. Or will be inaccessable to the WHOLE playerbase in ANY WAY. Linky please???

      I asked, directly, and CCP Seagull answered, directly, that ALL forms of gameplay... solo, OMC, casual, small gang, large gang and massive gang playstyles are important and WILL be supported in as the game moves forward.

      So no... sorry, but the new space will just be additional space... but those who want to explore there, those who want to PvP there, those who want to PvE there... all will be able to do so. No, this is not a Safe Zone or a "Trammel"... PvE players will not be able to 'escape' or get out of reach of Goons or PL or Marmites or anyone else in EVE... it's just new space, not separate 'safe' space.

  4. Coming from a non-EVE background this might be a dumb question, but how is opening up a new chunk of space going to solve the Uncle Bob problem? Most likely outcome is Uncle Bob is going to expand to that area as well, or open a new chapter or sell the franchise or whatever, and there will be new space Uncle Bob dominating new space just as there's old space Uncle Bob dominating old space. At best, Uncle Bob has to recruit some new goons (small g) to help hold down the extra territory so a few more players get to be on the 'winning side', which isn't a problem for Uncle Bob because there's never a shortage of people wanting to jump on his bandwagon.

    1. The short answer is that the strength of the main powers in nullsec rests in certain very big ships that have been very effective in nullsec but much less effective or even simply banned from other types of space.

      I'll write a longer answer soon as it's a very good question.

    2. I'll look forward to the longer answer. What I'd expect is that the big alliances have lots of bodies and lots of money so they can support an invasion of the new frontier - even if they can't take their titans and deathstars and what have you, they can send in a large and well-equipped army compared to the other pioneers.

    3. So... you have info, not tin-hat shit but from CCP, that Capitols, or Titans are not going to be allowed in the New Space?? Linky please. I have read and heard nothing like that anywhere...

    4. No proof but it's deductive. If titans can be deployed then the result of CCP Seagull's master plan that's dominated developer effort for three years is to say to the player base: "hey guys, we're adding 10 new regions to the game for NC., Goons and PL to rent out to you."

      Seems unlikely.

  5. I don't know that the null ore's are going to go hold value. The rest of the intermediate conclusions I agree with. renters as a force are going to have a tough time surviving. Small gangs in the past could do little more than farm kills from the renters, or make them dock up.

    A larger force (one that could actually harm the infrastructure) brought out the guard to get swatted Now defense is easier, you don't need N+1 people to stop it, just one, but so is meaningful attack. Even if all most renters do is now have to keep a supply of cheap fast frigs to stop the people meaning harm they still have to do that.

    Some will find it fun. These people will eventually probably want to join a non renter alliance, some will not be amused at all. Don't know what they will end up doing, but I don't see the landlords as being willing to field the large number of ships needed to protect the systems from reinforcement as an ongoing issue. (there is also the problem of bored line members going rogue, reinforcing renter structures for fun. since unless there is a record of who is doing the reinforcing they can ping away all they want)

    I do in fact think anonymity would be best for this system. the intel you get should tell you that the structure is under attack, but not by who, or what they are flying. It would make trusting your coalition-mates that much harder since you couldn't be sure that they weren't the ones flying through your space reinforcing your structures if you weren't there.

    As for the renters? back to my initial point. IF, and only IF the sov index (whatever the name for the number defining how hard/long it takes to capture is called, I cant get at the devblogs from work) accounts for amount mined in its number you will see the better renters (the ones that prefer pve, but aren't totally stupid in pvp) getting folded into the major alliances. The goons, pl, etc will all have miners making their important systems harder to take. This I think will also drive down those ore prices (and may do the same even without general deflation)

    As a final note. Jester we would love to hear your take on it, so blog away :)


    1. Good points, it remains to be seen whether the disruption this causes measures up against the increased strategic value of miners.