Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fixing Dominion Part Four: Details and Errata

Part four in the series covers the bits and pieces, the little details around this new sovereignty system.


Alliances will now have the ability to tax member corporations. Tax rates are voted on by the members of the executor corporation, and implemented with a successful majority vote. Failure to gain a successful majority will prevent the tax changes from occurring. Taxes are based on a percentage of income to a corp wallet, from any given transaction.


Survival and prosperity in EVE requires cooperation. Corporations and Alliances will have a new tool to enable cooperation: the Treaty. A treaty allows all entities involved to have identical access to sovereignty upgrades including stations, jump bridges, and the Subspace Transmission Tracker Array. Any party in a treaty can opt-out with a 24-hour cool down notice to all other parties in the treaty.

Index Decay

All upgrade indices can decay over time. The baseline decay rate is 10% divided by the Empire Sovereignty Index. Activity in a system reduces the decay rate for a particular index. For example, if the Pirate Detection Array 5 is installed there are 20 anomalies that are spawned simultaneously. Each anomaly is worth a % reduction in the decay rate for the day, based on the level of the array. The decay rate is carried over daily. Each iHub upgrade has an independent decay rate and activity level. If a particular upgrade index has a decay rate less than 0%, the index will climb, rather than decay.

When the activity index is calculated for the system at downtime, it is possible for the sovereignty level to drop based on cumulative rate of decay. If sovereignty drops below the required level for an upgrade to function, the specific upgrade will go offline. If the level drops below that of a specific Infrastructure Hub Upgrade, that upgrade will function at the next level down.

Damage Resistance Profiles

All sovereignty structures have a baseline resistance profile. The resistance profile for generic structures is an omni resist at 30%. The profile is increased based on the Empire Sovereignty Index. If the ESI is 2.5 then the resist profile is 55% (with a maximum of 80% at true ESI 5.0).

Jump Bridge Fees

Jump Bridges can have usage fees. Fees are paid directly into a selected corp wallet. Fees are based on usage and standings. The calculation for Jump Bridge fees is: ((500 * Jump distance in LY) * (ship mass / 1,000,000,000)) * Standings Fee. Standings Fee is: Baseline ISK * (10/Standings). The total cost for a 4LY jump to a pilot who is +10 to your corp in a 270,000m3 Cruiser would be 54 ISK. For +5 pilots it would be 108 ISK. Pilots who are neutral or have negative standings cannot use Jump Bridges.

Turret Damage Calculations

Missiles do less damage based on the signature radius of the target. Turret damage calculations need to be altered to behave in a similar way - although it has to scale for turret size. There is a discussion on Failheap Challenge about this concept, where large weapons do less damage against smaller targets. I'm not a mathematician, but the idea is a variable damage result, based on weapon size (sm/med/lg/xl) vs signature radius.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fixing Dominion Part Three: Total Domination

This is part three in a series of nullsec changes I wish CCP would implement. Part One: Use it or Lose it focused on how the sovereignty index is a tiered system based on empire size, sprawl, and individual system use. Part Two covered smaller strategic engagements. Part three covers war, in all it's glory.

One day in the pavilion at Karakorum he [Genghis Kahn] asked an officer of the Mongol guard what, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness.

"The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse under you," responded the officer after a little thought, "and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares."

"Nay," responded the Kahn, "to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet -- to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best."

"Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men" by Harold Lamb

Total Domination

The endgame in nullsec is to take, hold, and control territory. Total domination of your space, to build your own space empire. Unfortunately, war today is one of timers and structures with millions of hitpoints, with a single victory by the defending party leading to a total reset of the battlefield. War should rage across multiple systems, multiple constellations, with victories on either side affecting the total tide of the battle. Each system taken reduces the Constellation Index, each constellation liberated reducing the empire index, and affecting the systems and constellations around them. In addition a "headshot" at the capital system and constellation can bring the empire index crashing down, affecting the decay rates of all systems in the empire.

Strategic Targets

Currently Dominion has two (or three) strategic objectives in a given solar system: The Infrastructure Hub, the Territorial Claim Unit, and a station. To assault a system you need to have Sovereignty Blockade Units anchored at 50% of the gates in a system, attack the iHub. Attack the Station. Repeat twice more. If successful, attack TCU.

Station Games

The first change to this is to remove the station from the required targets list. Control of a station is not required for control of a system. However, if the TCU and the Station are not owned by the same alliance, the station is vulnerable at anytime, and can be taken by anyone. In addition, if the station is not owned by the controlling alliance, it becomes a freeport (anyone can dock). If the TCU and station are both owned by the controlling alliance, the station is invulnerable (although services are always vulnerable) unless the system itself is vulnerable.

Control Bunkers

Similar to Faction Warfare, when a system becomes vulnerable due to the deployment of SBUs, a series of bunkers are spawned. One bunker is spawned for each Military and Infrastructure iHub upgrade in the system, and is tied to that iHub upgrade. These targets appear on the overview just like FW control bunkers. Bunkers are gated, to prevent capital and supercapital ships from participating directly in the bunker battleground. In addition, sovereign ships will land in proximity to the bunker structures, while any foreign ships will land on grid +/-50km to the structures. The bunker will have variable resists based on the sovereignty index (base of 30%, up to 80% omni resists in a system with a local sovereignty index of 4.5-5). Small bunkers can only be entered by Cruiser or smaller ships. Medium Bunkers are limited to Battlecruiser and below, while Large Bunkers allow Battleships and below.

Once a bunker complex is occupied by an invading force, the SBUs become invulnerable until the bunker is destroyed or vacated.

Bunker Structures

At each bunker are three structures – a remote repair tower, a cloaking dispersion array and the bunker itself. The cloaking dispersion array will deactivate the cloak on any ships inside the complex once every 5 minutes. The remote repair tower will automatically repair all sovereign ships and structures on the same grid as if it were a set of Tech 2 large armor/shield/hull remote repair units. The remote repair tower can be hacked using the Codebreaker, which will disable it for 5 minutes, or destroyed. Destroying the bunker itself completes that objective. When a bunker is destroyed, the activity index for the paired upgrade is lowered by one point (not below 1).

Destroying all bunkers in a system makes the iHub vulnerable (as it is under Dominion), for the shield/armor/hull cycle. At the end of each reinforcement cycle a new series of bunkers deploy in the system. If enough SBUs are destroyed to defend sovereignty, all bunkers will despawn automatically.

This model introduces several battlefields in a system simultaneously. The SBUs at the gates are vulnerable for the defender to attempt to resolve the conflict until the bunkers are occupied. The bunkers provide multiple targets that affect the system as a whole and impact the value of the system if the defenders choose not to actively defend from the first vulnerability cycle. In addition, the gates at the bunkers provide multiple battlefields requiring different ships, while still preserving a space in strategic system control (iHub and Station assaults) for Capital and Supercapital ships.


For the defender, victory is the same terms as today - destroy the SBU(s) to regain control. The difference is, to destroy the SBUs bunkers must be empty of opposing forces. For the attacker, the destruction of all the bunkers is required to make the iHub vulnerable for each cycle, ending with the destruction of the iHub and the vulnerability of the TCU. Occupation/destruction of the station is no longer required in station systems.

Trickle-down impacts

When a system is lost, the constellation and empire sovereignty indices are automatically recalculated, with all the affecting results.

Destructable Outposts

Even in Empire, stations can be destroyed. Player deployed outposts are no different. If an outpost is flipped (shield/armor/hull reinforcement) a new deployable charge "Outpost Demolition Device" can be jettisoned from the cargo hold of a ship outside the station. After a two minute timer, the demolition device will "destroy" the outpost. During the two minute timer, the device can be targeted and shot, or any member of the alliance who deployed it can disable it.

Replacing an Outpost

Destroyed outposts can be reconstructed or replaced by deploying a new Outpost Egg. The new outpost does not have to be the same type as the previous one.

Accessible Assets

All Jump Clones are destroyed. Medical Clones are moved under the same process as a revoked clone. An outpost wreck will contain all assets that were in the outpost, accessible only to the owner of those assets. Based on corporate roles, a player may see the contents of their own hangar or the corp hangars. Items can be removed from the outpost wreck, but not added. Items in a wrecked outpost do not expire. If a new or replacement outpost is deployed in the same location, all items in the wreck are transferred to the new outpost, and the wreck despawns. If an outpost is deployed elsewhere in the system the wreck remains.

Part One: Use it or Lose it
Part Two: Farms and Fields
Part Four: Details and Errata

Fixing Dominion Part Two: Farms and Fields

This is part two in a series of nullsec changes I wish CCP would implement. Part One: Use it or Lose it focused on how the sovereignty index is a tiered system based on empire size, sprawl, and individual system use. Part Two talks about smaller strategic engagements, while Part Three will cover war.

Part Two: Farms and Fields

I was involved in the original "farms and fields" discussions on a couple years ago, and I may or may not have actually linked that phrase to the woes of combat in nullsec. For those of you who don't understand the idea, there are two primary opposing schools of thought in nullsec - the group that wants to get fights, and the group that wants to hole up and let the nomads fly on by. Both of those are valid positions. The "Farms and Fields" position states that there should be something the invading force can do to disrupt life if left unopposed. You can sit safely in your castle, avoiding the fight, but the bandits will have license to burn your farms and fields to the ground.

Smaller Strategic Targets

First of all, let me be clear. The concept here is to create points of conflict, not to tear down huge space empires. However, an empire that cannot or will not defend itself will suffer if their farms and fields are razed.

Targetable Infrastructure Hub Upgrades

Individual iHub Upgrades can be attacked, and when offlined, the AI index for that system drops by one level for the duration the upgrade is offline. This creates an immediate effect - if your Pirate Detection Array is offlined, you won't get as many anomalies to farm. iHub upgrades have omni resists at 30% + the Empire Sovereignty Index effect (with a maximum of 80%) and a very small signature radius to minimize damage from larger weapons. The HP would be relatively small, so a small gang (20 cruisers) can offline an individual upgrade in about 10 minutes.

Repairing iHub Upgrades

The default offline duration is 4 hours, with an option to repair using a new High Slot module, the "Infrastructure Repair Unit" (IRU). The IRU has small, medium, and large versions. Repair points per cycle are scaled based on module size. In addition, iHub upgrades have a natural repair/recharge cycle that takes 4 hours. 20 large IRUs will repair an offline upgrade in about 10 minutes. If an upgrade is offline when any sovereignty index is calculated, that index is calculated at the original level to prevent downtime shenanigans.

The Codebreaker module can now be used to temporarily offline a single iHub upgrade for 5 minutes, with a 30-minute cooldown between uses.

Player Owned Customs Offices

POCOs are already targetable, reinforceable, and destroyable. This would not be changed.

The Codebreaker module will be able to "crack" the security on a POCO. If there are any commodities in the POCO, a certain percentage of them are liberated by a successful hack (but not the planetary resources below). These commodities are taken randomly from any player who has them stored in the POCO.

Station Services

Station Services can already be attacked individually. There is no change to this behavior.

The Codebreaker module can be used to offline any single station service for 5 minutes, with a 30-minute cooldown between uses.

Introducing small targets of opportunity via the Codebreaker and targetable iHub upgrades provides opportunitites for small gangs or dedicated terrorist groups to harass individual systems or whole constellations, but not significantly impact the empire as a whole.

The Benefits of Ownership

These new methods of being able to harass or terrorize a sovereign alliance are counterbalanced by increasing the returns from existing PvE content in Nullsec, as well as new farms and fields.

Local changes in Nullsec

The Local channel is one of the easiest (hence most valuable) tools for intel in EVE. There are three significant changes to how the Local channel behaves:
1) In all space, the name and portrait of a character does not update in local until the 30 second invulnerability timer expires (even if the character immediately recloaks, this data updates).
2) In NPC Nullsec, names and portraits do not show up in local unless the character is docked in a station. Note: If a character undocks, until the 30 second invulnerability timer expires they will still appear to be in the station.
3) In Sovereign Nullsec, names and portraits do not show up in local unless the character is docked in a station. In addition, if the sovereign alliance has purchased the "Subspace Transmission Tracker Array" members of the sovereign alliance (and associated coalition members listed in the coalition treaty) then local (for them) is treated like Empire Local.

edit - thanks to TGR at The Codebreaker module can be used to temporarily offline The Subspace Transmission Tracker Array for 5 minutes, with a 30-minute cooldown between uses.

Sovereignty Upgrades

Subspace Transmission Tracker Array
The Subspace Transmission Tracker Array is a sovereignty upgrade that is anchored within 300km of a stargate. It requires Sovereignty 4 to online, and updates Local for the Sovereign Alliance and Coalition allies to behave like Empire local.

Internal Affairs Monitoring Upgrade
This iHub upgrade reduces the corruption level in a system by 2% per System Index level (up to 10%).

Racial Professional Outpost Platform
Professional Outpost Upgrades double the specific upgrade features from Advanced Upgrades. These upgrades are designed to bring player outposts closer to the production capacity of empire stations.

Racial Outpost type Mission Platform
An Outpost Mission Platform provides one mission Agent from the Outpost faction. Each outpost can be ugpraded with 3 Mission Platforms (Security, Distribution, Mining). Each level of the upgrade adds an agent of the next level (Basic: L1, Standard: L2, Advanced: L3, Professional: L4). Mission platforms (like other station services) can be attacked and disabled, or hacked and disabled.

Part One: Use it or Lose it
Part Three: Total Domination
Part Four: Details and Errata

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fixing Dominion Part One: Use it or Lose it

Well, here comes a big post that will bring about nothing but make me feel a bit better. Dominion, the nullsec sovereignty expansion, was never completed, and is broken. It seems like most folks I talk to in various forums agree with that. CCP isn't paying focused attention to nullsec right now (which is fine, there are a lot of underlying issues that have to be fixed first), but I'm going to write this up anyway. The ideas here are a casserole of various ideas from places like, the EVE-O forums, and postings in various blogs over the years. So let's start with the big picture, and drill down into the various details afterwards.

Show me the money

Peacetime activity in nullsec usually involves jump cloning to hisec for mission or incursion running for a lot of players. This creates a vast wasteland of unoccupied and uninteresting systems throughout nullsec, because it's just not worth it to risk your ships for a marginally larger reward (Titan ratters and botters not included). Nullsec needs to be significantly more profitable than HiSec to the individual pilot to balance out the risk:reward equation and develop an vibrant, active population. If I participate in a PvE activity in nullsec for an hour, I should make significantly more ISK that I would make blitzing missions or running Incursions in HiSec during that same hour. In addition, PvE activities should scale (in sovereign systems) to support more and more players simultaneously earning ISK. Each site spawned by an Industry or Military Upgrade should provide the potential for significantly greater ISK income than equivalent activities in HiSec.

Nullsec needs methods to condense more players in fewer places. Condensing players provides more opportunity for interaction (positive and negative). If the players of a small (500-man) alliance are spread out across 20 systems, it's not working. Or, if the players of a 2,000 man alliance are spread out across 60 systems, it's still not working. So the goal should be a construct where a single system can support virtually any number of players simultaneously.

Finally, Nullsec needs a more dynamic combat and sovereignty system, where use is more valuable than just ownership, and combat is not centered around a series of static timers system by system.

Part One: Home, Sweet Home

Use it or Lose it (Activity Index)

Basically, the number of sites (anomalies/complexes/gravimetrics/magnetometrics) that are completed raise the activity index of the specific ihub upgrade as well as increase the number of sites that are spawned by that upgrade. This would support players clustering in a single system by dynamically increasing the available content based on use. For anomalies, complexes, and magnetometric sites, a new (random) site will spawn if all the current sites are occupied. This provides an mechanism for players to group together in a system, since there is no hard limit on ISK making opportunities. In addition, the ISK value of rats should be increased in nullsec by about 20% across the board (or nerf the ISK value of missions in hisec by 20% across the board). By creating obvious targets (grouping players together) the risk level goes up significantly. That risk increase should be accompanied by an equivalent reward increase, otherwise this is pointless. If you can make more running L4 missions or incursions in HiSec than complexes or anomalies in nullsec, the risk:reward balance is broken.

Activity Indices would rise (and decay) based on site completion. Each iHub upgrade has a unique activity index, which would contribute to the system activity index. The sovereignty index of a system is tied to the activity index, rather than a clock. If a system is used, the activity index will rise, and the system index will rise. If a system is unused, both will decline. Sovereignty upgrades tied to a certain index level would go offline if the system dropped below the minimum level required.

The System Index is the current sovereignty index. System Indices are calculated based on the Activity Index multiplied by the influence modifier (below). All System Indices within a nullsec empire are averaged together to create an empire-wide Sovereignty Index. In each constellation, a Constellation Index is based on the number of occupied systems in the constellation and the System Index for each system - if an empire has 4 of 7 systems in a particular constellation, the Constellation Index is (SI 1:4)/7

Sphere of Influence

The rate of change of an activity monitor would also be affected by a range modifier. Space empires need capitals - centers of activity, and the further from the capital the less control an emperor has. This is calculated into the rate of change for the activity monitors. The further from the declared capital of an empire, the slower activity index changes. This mechanic discourages sprawling space empires. The calculation would also be affected by neighboring systems (or constellations). The activity monitor of the system next door (and then scaled up the constellation next door) provides a small boost against the range modifier.

Within the capital constellation, the influence modifier (SIM) would be 100%. Each constellation further reduces that influence modifier by 1%. Each unmodified constellation that exists between the capital and a sovereign constellation, increases that reduction by an additional 1%. If the capital constellation were to fall, the influence modifier is immediately lowered by 50%. Installing and owning POCOs can increase the influence modifier by 0.2% per planetary installation, not to exceed 100% overall. If a player corporation that is not part of the sovereign alliance has POCOs in a sovereign system, each POSCO reduces the influence modified by 0.5% per planet.

In addition, corporate (and alliance) taxes suffer from graft or corruption in systems with a lower sphere of influence. The constellation index is used when calculating the percentage of lost revenue from any ISK sources. For example, ratting in the capital constellation would provide 100% of the tax rate (10% as an example), but ratting in a constellation with a 75% influence would only provide 7.5% tax, with the other 2.5% "lost" to corruption.

Sovereignty Index

The Empire Sovereignty Index is calculated based on the number of sovereign systems divided by the average the sovereignty level of all constellations in an empire. The Empire Sovereignty Index is used to adjust the default decay rate of the individual iHub indices.

These indices establish the baseline of the nullsec empire. The final sovereignty index of the empire affects the rate of decay for the activity index. An empire with a high sovereignty index has a slower rate of decay than an empire with a low sovereignty index. The rate of decay affects how fast or slow System Indexes rise and fall.

The use of each system impacts the sovereignty index of that system, as well as the overall sovereignty value of the empire. Large, sprawling empires of empty systems aren't as effective as connected, clustered systems, and empires that are constantly invading other territories are at risk of their home losing value the longer they are away.

Part Two: Farms and Fields
Part Three: Total Domination
Part Four: Details and Errata

PvP and EVE Part 2: LoSec

LoSec has been the source of a lot of heated discussion over the years. Is it broken? Working as intended? Can you "fix it"? I could go on and on, and as a long time resident of LoSec who has managed to keep my sec status above -2.0 I think I can speak a bit on this topic. But that's for the end of the post. If you missed PvP and EVE Part 1: Hisec, check it out first. With that in mind, let's start looking at PvP in LoSec.

Ship Combat
LoSec has been sold as the "pirate haven" in EVE. You can engage anyone here, on gates, on stations, belts, missions, anywhere. But that engagement comes at a price, everywhere. Hostile action reduces your security status, and podding your opponent reduces it even further. But beyond that, ship combat in LoSec is fairly wide open. A few things to keep in mind is that Titan Doomsdays, Bombs, and Interdiction spheres (bubbles in general) don't work. This (along with the pervasive security status hit of combat) are the big differentiations between LoSec ship combat and NullSec ship combat. In addition, the existence of sentry guns at stargates and stations means frigate combat must occur away from these public areas. Battlecruisers (and even cruisers) can tank the gate or station guns for a while in LoSec, but
frigates and destroyers will pop quickly to the nearly perfect tracking and signature radius of these guns.

Market Combat
The markets in LoSec are poorly represented. Sure, some residents run missions, and some may even sell their loot on the open market, but in general the market in LoSec is weak. With less than 10% of all pilots in EVE residing in LoSec, and easy access to HiSec markets and trade hubs, there isn't a lot of profit in the LoSec market. Not to mention the fact that eventually someone will manage to destroy your hauler on the way in or out of a station or system, means that the market in LoSec really needs to be a self-sustaining one to be viable, and with the low population it just isn't. Most items are priced closer to NullSec than HiSec, and are "emergent" purchases rather than planned ones. There was a move a while ago to change this in Intaki - but I haven't heard how successful that was. If you know, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Resource Combat
LoSec should be the haven for the majority of planetary interaction. With increased returns and the ability to install player-owned customs offices (pocos) there should be significant competition for resources here, but this doesn't seem to be developing as well as it could. Most corps that are installing (or killing) pocos are doing so fairly unopposed, although some fights are happening over pocos, a flight through a losec area of space will still contain more Interbus customs offices than pocos.

Issues with LoSec PvP
I think the biggest issue with LoSec PvP is perception. PvP happens a lot in losec, and recent reports by CCP Diagoras support the fact that ship combat in LoSec is alive and well. However, the volume of actual players in LoSec suggest a much higher concentration of combat than experience (living in LoSec)

There's a proposal on the official EVE forums about this, and it's not bad.

(addendum 4/17/2012:17:00EST)
My biggest complaint with most LoSec proposals is that they are focused almost exclusively on Faction War or Piracy. Both of those are valid activities, but LoSec industry is just as valid, if even more difficult to work with. Reactions, R&D, even mining in LoSec should have some validity, with an appropriate risk:reward balance.